Mashed potatoes is extremely simple to make, and there's absolutely no need to use pre-fabricated stuff, that thing has the taste and texture of glue. Keep in mind, you can actually use potatoes to glue stuff, so it's not that surprising.
But I digress. Read on for how to and pictures.
Potatoes (3-4 for every person, at least)
Pepper, onion, garlic, other spices optional.
First of all, you can use any kind of potatoes, but expect there to be differences in both taste and texture. Start out with one type, then move on to experiment with combinations.
You can peel them, but you don't have to. Wash them properly though.
I prefer to cut them into smaller bits, simply to decrease the boiling time. This goes for anything that needs cooking. Smaller pieces = faster cooking.
It's a weird thing, I always use a lot more potatoes when I mash them, than I would if I ate them whole. It's almost as if the filling part of the potato disappears when you mash it. Is this similar to a soul? Does the soul of the potato vanish when you mash it, leaving it less filling?
Boil until you can easily stab them with a fork. I prefer to boil until the almost fall apart. Destroying their soul isn't enough for me, I need to destroy their body too - that is before I start mashing them. Brutal, but delicious.
Remove the water, steam them a bit, to get rid of any excess moisture, add butter or margarine, add milk, start mashing. You may need more milk along the way. You can also use cream.
At this point you can add anything you want. Garlic, chives, parsley, onion, pepper, vinegar, basil, chili. Be creative. Or traditional.
Mashed potatoes goes well with hot dogs, meat, chicken, gravy, probably anything.