The Unconventional Potato Masher One London Café Was Fined $200K For

Mashed potatoes are one of the ultimate comfort foods. Whether they're dressed up with gravy or cheese or just plain with a little bit of salt and butter, the warm, smooth side dish is a great way to supplement your meal. Recipes for mashed potatoes may date back as far as 1771, when a French man held a potato cooking competition, according to Kings River Life. Some say they go back even further, to 1600s England. 

Typical ways to make the delicious side dish include using a potato ricer or a hand mixer, but that doesn't stop some from coming up with new methods. Some eccentric foodies out there like to use unconventional items in the kitchen — like using a drill to peel apples or as a cheese grater (via Family Handyman). One London café had to find out the hard way that sometimes, it's just better to use the standard kitchen tools.

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should

The Doce Bakers and Sweet Mahal bakeries share a kitchen in Edmonton, north London, per The Daily Mail. When inspectors came by to verify that health and safety standards were being met, they found a tennis racket in a bowl with boiled potatoes, evidently having been used to mash the vegetables.

Along with the tennis racket, inspectors also found a pest infestation and dirty floors and equipment (via The Takeout). Due to the numerous violations and hazardous conditions, the bakeries were fined a grand total of £152,823 in October 2016 — roughly $202,588 USD.

Though this method isn't really recommended, and it would be much easier to buy a potato ricer, The Takeout notes that it is technically safe to use a tennis racket to mash potatoes. Just don't make it your go-to method: the strings are typically chemically treated and could be harmful if the fibers are frequently ingested.