The Grandmother of Europe

January 1, 1877

During her reign, Queen Victoria mothered 9 children…a lot by any standard, let alone for a woman who didn’t much care for being pregnant. The Queen’s children grew up (as children have a tendency to do) and worked themselves into the royal fabric of the entire Old Continent. Her great-great grandchildren include Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Queen Sofia of Spain, King Constantine II of Greece, King Michael I of Romania, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, and King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. Not a shabby lot. When she ascended the throne in 1837, she was excluded from becoming the ruler of the Kingdom of Hanover, because according to the laws of the day girls don’t get to rule things. (Hanover ended up getting conquered by Prussia about 30 years later, which then got “unified” with the German Empire a couple years after that, but that’s another story…)  Undaunted by the exclusion, Queen Victoria proposed to her husband (he surely couldn’t ask her…she was the queen for crying out loud) and proceeded to make such an impact that an entire era was named for her. Throughout her reign, Queen Victoria survived not one or two, but six assassination attempts. During the Victorian era, the British Empire included Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, and India. On January 1, 1877, the queen was proclaimed the Empress of India. Not bad for never having set foot inside the country!
Queen Victoria also had a appetite for potatoes, and had them cooked for her in any possible way a chef could dream up. Perhaps she would have liked these hometown faves:
Potatoes Fit for a Queen
2 medium sweet potatoes
2 large russet potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup milk (or to desired consistency)
2 cloves of garlic, mashed with a press
If the picky ones are home, I will peel the potatoes before cubing them, but if I want all the health benefits, I just scrub them and dice them up. Boil the diced potatoes for approximately 10  minutes, then drain the water. Add the rest of the ingredients, allowing the butter to melt completely as you’re mixing it in. Be sure the garlic is mixed in well and dispersed so that no one bites a whole chunk at one time.
Mash all the ingredients together and serve immediately. Serves 4

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