Yes, please do salt your water when cooking the potatoes!
I've never made garlic mashed potatoes, but I had some really good ones at Applebys yesterday. They left the peelings on though, which I don't care for in my mashed potatoes.
Still, I didn't exactly turn them down!
One of my grandsons works there as a cook, and he says that while they make everything fresh, the seasonings, coatings and sauces are packaged or frozen.
I think the idea of simmering the garlic in butter is an excellent one. And I have been known to use my granulated garlic on many occasions. I also think the addition of a packet of Ranch Dressing mix to the potatoes might be worth a try. What the hey?
My favorite variation of mashed potatoes is with cream cheese and French Onion Dip. Garnish with a few chopped green tops of scallions if you wish.
Wouldn't Bleu Cheese be good in them?
I think I'm on a mashed potato trip here...