Tag Archives: Fruits and Vegetables

Kimball Potatoes

11 Sep

I had to call my sister to get the history on this recipe, and she had to call her mother-in-law. It’s a good thing she did too because we had the details all wrong! Sometimes word-of-mouth isn’t always the most accurate way to pass on information. đŸ™‚ So here’s the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about the history of Spencer W. Kimball Potatoes:

Spencer W. Kimball was the 12th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but before that, he served as the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. My brother-in-law’s grandfather had served as a Stake President in the Church for 20+ years, and was going to be released. Since he had dedicated so much of his life to this calling, Elder Kimball was sent to personally release him and thank him for his service – an exciting, but daunting experience to host a great man like that I’m sure! His wife being out of town, Grandpa called on the talents of his daughter-in-law, my brother-in-law’s mother. He asked her if she could host the welcome dinner for Elder Kimball and prepare the food. She did what any good daughter would do, in-law or otherwise; she said, “Of course,” and promptly called her mother for advice. Together, they planned out the dinner, which included a potato dish that her mom had made up and had had great success with.

The day of the dinner, all hands were on deck, including my  brother-in-law’s two older siblings. This was before the days of frozen hash browns, so the potatoes had to be peeled, shredded, and soaked multiple times so that they didn’t turn gray. Can we say, ‘time consuming?’ The dinner was a success and Elder Kimball was gracious and complimentary of the meal. Here’s where the story got a little twisted – we were all thinking that the reason why everyone called them “Kimball Potatoes” was because Spencer W. Kimball loved the dish and raved so much about them that he had to have the recipe. Though I’m sure he thoroughly enjoyed them (it’s hard not to, they are really good!), he never singled them out specifically in the meal. The name wasn’t contrived until shortly after the entire ordeal was over and done with. Little Tom, who had probably been less than helpful in the kitchen that day :), but was there none the less, told his mom one day, “I want potatoes.” She tried and tried to figure out what kind of potatoes he wanted, but you know how helpful toddlers can be – very insistent on having just exactly what they want, but never doing a very good job conveying exactly what that is. Finally, he said, “I want the President Kimball potatoes!” And the name stuck.

Lucky for us, some brilliant person started peeling, shredding, and freezing potatoes for us, so this dish has gone from a fancy-schmacy, all day in the kitchen kind of dish, to the easiest thing in the world to prepare (you can tell people you slaved all day if it makes you feel better). Make it. Enjoy it. And share its history – just be sure you tell it right. đŸ˜‰

Kimball Potatoes


1 large bag of shredded, frozen hash browns

1 pint whipping cream

minced onions

salt and pepper

Pour half of potatoes into a 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and onions to taste. Repeat, spreading the second half of potatoes on top of the other. Pour whipping cream over the top evenly. Cover with foil and bake at 350^F for 45 – 60 min.