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Kitchen Fined $200,000 for Mashing Potatoes with Tennis Racket

The tennis racket was just a small part of the problem.

Nick Rose

Nick Rose

Think your Thanksgiving side dishesare looking a little complicated? A London bakery is facing a massive fine for—among other things—its unconventional method of mashing potatoes.

According to the Daily Mail, health officials “were astonished to find a filthy, potato-covered tennis racket in a bowl of boiled spuds” in a “filthy bakery” in the London borough of Enfield. “It is believed staff rested the racket on top of the bowl and mashed the potatoes by pushing them through the strings—or even grating them into the bowl,” the Daily Mail reports. Highbury Magistrates Court hit the bakery prep kitchen, which was reportedly being used by two separate shops—Doce Bakers and Sweet Mahal—to “manufacture desserts, sweets, bakery goods, and samosas” with a GBP 152,823 ($202,276) fine.

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Given the severity of that penalty, it’s not exactly surprising that the incriminating tennis racket was symptomatic of a much larger hygiene problem, which included "an ongoing pest problem and filthy floors and equipment." Doce Bakers and Sweet Mahal had reportedly been visited by borough officials as far back as January 2016, though standards apparently continued to worsen.

Enfield councillor and cabinet member for the environment Daniel Anderson defended the fine saying. “We take a dim view of any food outlets whose premises aren't kept in a hygienic state for the manufacture of food,” he told the Daily Mail, adding that, “Our residents have the right to expect the food they buy to be safe to eat.”

When you think about it, the space between tennis racket strings is kind of perfect for the potato size you’d want for a samosa stuffing. While it's certainly resourceful, it’s also clearly not up to code.

So if ever you’re in a bind at home, you now know that you can use sports equipment to make your spuds. Just refrain from serving them to paying strangers.