Mashed potatoes make a hearty honest dish. It has sometimes been referred to as comfort food because it evokes memories of both big special-occasion dinners and the simple, family dinner intended for no other reason than to share a good meal. This version of mashed potatoes tastes good because it's dense with the mildly sweet flavor of parsnips and just enough butter to please, but without the extra calories you usually find in mashed potatoes.
Reprinted with permission from The Healthy Kitchen by Andrew Weil and Rosie Daley, copyright © 2003. Published by Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
Put the potatoes and parsnips in a large pot with water, making sure that the water completely covers them. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium, then cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally with a spoon. Test the tenderness of the potatoes with a fork; they should pierce easily and be tender, yet firm. Drain any remaining liquid and mash the potatoes with a potato masher until there are no visible lumps. Add the milk and butter and continue to mash until the potatoes are smooth and creamy. Stir in the parsley, cayenne, black pepper, and salt, and beat thoroughly with a wooden spoon until all the seasonings are completely mixed in. Cover and serve warm.