Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover. Season with salt and bring to a simmer; cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 45 minutes.
Drain the potatoes. Hold with an oven mitt or kitchen towel and peel off the skins, then transfer the potatoes to a bowl.
Add the butter and warm milk to the bowl and mash with a potato masher or fork (or pass the potatoes through a ricer or food mill for a smoother mash). Season with salt and pepper.
Plan on 1/3 to 1/2 pound potatoes per person for your feast.
Photograph by Levi Brown
Recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine