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Peel potatoes. Cut any large potatoes in half so potatoes are of uniform size and cook evenly. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with 2 inches of cold water. Bring to low boiling over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer about 30 minutes, until potatoes are tender when pierced with a small knife tip. Remove from heat.
Drain potatoes, then return to saucepan while still warm. Add butter, cover, and let stand until butter is melted. Add buttermilk; mash with potato masher or whip with electric beaters until potatoes are creamy and butter and buttermilk are incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm.