For best results when making mashed potatoes, always add hot liquids rather than cold to steaming potatoes, and be sure the potatoes are absolutely dry before adding the liquids.

Starting today in Food & Drink, The Sun will feature a different aspect of the Thanksgiving meal every week between now and Nov. 23. Look for it every Wednesday.

There really should be a Uniform Standards Act for mashed potatoes.

There’s no consensus even on which potatoes are best for mashing.

How can such a simple, beloved dish engender so many different recipes and so much disagreement?

The possibilities are endless: Do you use a ricer or food mill? Bake or boil the potatoes? Use russets or Yukon Golds? Add hot milk or butter first? Is microwaving OK?

Right off the bat, in testing out mashed potato recipes, two rules became apparent: Always add hot liquids rather than cold to the steaming potatoes, so that the starch cells don’t shrink and stiffen; and, whether you bake or boil them, be sure that the potatoes are absolutely dry when adding those liquids, or else they won’t absorb the hot milk or cream, and you’ll have a gloppier result.