#455 Digging a hole in your mashed potatoes and filling it up with gravy

Get your mash on long.

Get your mash on strong.

How great is it that a bunch of rock-hard brown things yanked from the dirt can turn into a creamy smooth-n-salty canvas of deliciousness right in the middle of our plates? I’m talking salty lumps, I’m talking tasty bumps, I’m talking mashed potatoes, people.

Mashed potatoes are one of the few foods who achieve that rare 10 out of 10 on sculptability:

Lakes and ponds. The classic. Nobody’s bending burgers into teapots or folding pancakes into salad plates, but we’ve got no problems curving sloppy potatoes into gravy swimming pools in no time flat.

Broken dams. Need some gravy on that turkey? No problem — just slice a gully in the side of Lake Gravy and watch the salty brown goodness lay a flash flood on that bird.

Retaining walls. Sorry? What’s that? Unruly cranberry sauce is threatening to contaminate your casserole? No problem! Just smear some mashed potato paste across your plate like mortar and keep all the flavors where they belong.

• Buried volcano. When you got the gravy pond sitting pretty on your plate it’s sometimes fun letting it soak in and then quickly flipping the entire structure onto itself, completely submerging the gravy under a thin sheen of potato. Now you’ve got a starchy chest full of treasure.

And because mashed potatoes offer so much potential it’s not uncommon to see other creations like green-bean porcupines or lumpy Pyramids of Giza in the middle of a mashed potato plate. There is really no limit to the possibilities so just remember to dig for the moment, sculpt for the memories, and build for your life.


— Email message —

“In my view, there’s nothing more awesome than a sinful dessert to end a perfect meal. So, fittingly, I hope this sweet Book of Awesome ice cream sandwich makes a perfect ending to today’s post!” – A. Fiorino from Insanewiches.com

— Special Announcement —

Hi everybody,

Thank you sincerely for reading 1000 Awesome Things.

We’ve come a long way together and it’s been fun sharing your stories from around the world for the first 100 days since the launch of The Book of Awesome.

Today I’m very excited to tell you that The Book of Awesome 2 will be coming out in Spring, 2011!

This is entirely happening because of the support you’ve shown for the book which is currently in its 12th week on bestseller lists and in its eighth printing. Next week it’s coming out in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand and it’s currently getting translated for other countries.

The Book of Awesome 2 will once again feature our favorite awesome things from the blog together with lots of new entries. Of course, I’d love your help picking which awesome things go in it. So let’s celebrate! Leave a comment below with an entry from the blog you’d like to see in The Book of Awesome 2. Make sure you enter your email address because we’ll draw five random comments on Sunday night to receive a free autographed copy of The Book of Awesome in the mail! All comments, thoughts, or replies count as ballots and we’ll announce the winners on Monday.

Thank you again so sincerely. This has been an absolutely amazing surprise and joy and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to chat about awesome things every day.

Have a great weekend everybody,


Photos from: here, here, and here

246 thoughts on “#455 Digging a hole in your mashed potatoes and filling it up with gravy

  1. Sadly, “mashed” is the only variety of taters that I don’t completely love and enjoy. Tragic.

    HOWEVER, that’s the most awesome ice cream sandwich I’ve ever seen. Wow!

    A blog comment can’t even come close to expressing my excitement about The Book of Awesome 2. So I’ll go do cartwheels and backflips and splits while shouting at neighbors and spraying silly string and waving banners of happiness!!

    1. Yeah for a second book!

      My favorite is #836 When you push the button for the elevator and it’s already there, Closely followed by: #689 When somebody holds the elevator door for you and #894 When the only other person going up in the elevator is going to the same floor as you.

  2. It’s two times the awesome! Though I can only imagine how the cover will look. Hmm.

    (Sorry, I’m not a mash fan. Sad, I know.)

  3. Congrats on the second book! I think you should include this very entry in it – I looooove mashed potatoes and gravy

  4. Ok, I’m not exactly sure what entries have been included in the first book, but if #545 hasn’t, I would like to kindly beg you to have it in the second book. Congratulations & good luck!

  5. THE BOOK OF AWESOME 2 ?!?!?!!?
    one word says my reaction

    YUSSSS !!! :D
    i’m actually very excited for it now !!!!
    :D :D :D :D
    but for some awesome things you should include in it i think you should definitely include , ‘licking the flavor off you fingers’ !! because it’s sooooo true and i think everyone can relate to that. Also i think you should include ‘pain’ because that one i would have never thought of but it actually is awesome ! not just awesome but EPICLY AWESOME !!! ahahaha
    love you and the blog :D
    – cassidy :D

  6. I can’t wait til the book release :)

    One awesome thing I would love to see in the book is post #522 Dancing when you’re home alone . I do this ALL the time, and it’s a great way to just let it GO. No one to judge or make fun of you. It’s great(:

  7. oh wow! thts awesome that there’s going to be another book!

    i live in aus & still waiting to get my hands on the first book…

    sucks cause it would have made a very nice birthday present for me today:( & would have made this day just a lil bit more awesomer!..especially being stuck at work while im writing this :(

    oh well… anyway congratulations again neil on being so successful & getting your second book!!
    thank you for bringing a touch of awesome to everyday for so many of us :)

    i speak for a lot of people when i say that we really really really appreciate it :D


    1. There you are….I looked to see if you had commented before I put mine in…I need to put my glasses on.

      Thank you so much for you very kind words the other day. They came at a much needed time.

      1. thank you for the birthday wishes :)

        & thats no worries about the other day..
        we all need a little encouragement every now & then & im so glad i came across your blog… i will be a frequent visitor from now on! :)

        I meant every word i wrote on your blog & i hope you find the courage & strength carry on.. I wish you all the best bekah.. :)


  8. really old dangerous playgrounds #980 because as a child my community had this awesome playground made out of wood come to find out ten years later it might cause cancer. Now a new playground has been built in it’s place and everything is made of plastic and the ground is a spongey foam. Lol tell me how you have fun on that!

  9. That’s the coolest ice cream sandwich ever! I wish I had that kind of patience… I would totally screw up that icing writing.

    As for the Book of Awesome 2… WOOO! … Now if only I had the Book of Awesome 1… Us poor people down in Australia are still waiting!

    As for entries (keeping in mind I have no clue what was in the first book), I’d love to see #625 – Really, really short people.

    Why yes, I am short person, how did you know?

  10. Book of Awesome 2? No way!
    Here’s an awesome thing: When a sequel or new book by a favorite author is just as good as the original.

    A few more awesome things: Winning raffles, free stuff, and autographs. I mean, they’re the world’s most exciting pen scribbles.
    However, the most awesome thing of all would be getting a free copy of the book of awesome 2, putting together all of the above awesomeness.

  11. #468 The moment of anticipation just before the first kiss

    On a first date with my boyfriend we were out jet skiing and he dumped me off the back and jumped in after me. As he came up laughing for air he leaned in and my stomach jumped in that amazing moment before our first kiss!

  12. I’m so excited for the second book! I still have to pick up my copy of the first one, but I know it will be so awesome, so I am pumped for the second! I don’t know if it was included in the first book, but I would like to see 966, 959, and 474! AWESOME!

  13. I think Mashed has always been my favourite variety of potato. Since I was little I’ve always been very deliberate and precise in ‘farming’ them, making the nice rows with my fork. It’s also great to mix in whatever veg. you’re eating with them. Corn is a classic – it takes the farming of the potato field to a whole new level of awesome!

    Congrats on the new book! I haven’t been able to get my hands on the first one yet so hopefully I’ll be able to do that before the second one comes out.

    1. I like to mix corn in mine too!!!! Everything thinks I’m weird for doing it, but now I can tell them that there’s at least one other person in the world that does it!!
      I also like to make mashed potato sandwiches. MMMMMM…… Its a little messy, but well worth it.

  14. Another book? That’s awesome! #538 (laughing so hard you start crying) is one of my favorites, so I hope it gets put in!

    Good luck!

  15. Having a really good friend at the birth of BOTH of your kids. ( Thanks, Shana!) That was pretty Awesome to me. Congrats on the book and for giving people new reasons to think about the really good things in life. Excellent Job!


  16. #946 The first shower you take after not showering for a really long time

    I went to a school where we would go camping a few times a year, and–even though the camping was fun–I think my favorite part was getting back and spending as long as possible in the shower. Roommates would work out ahead of time who had dibs on the shower. (it was a toss-up as to which was better; if you had first shower, you had to go semi-quickly, since the other person was waiting. If you had second shower, you could take as long as you liked…but you had to move gingerly around your room, trying to ignore the smell of campfire that suddenly smells so gross.)

    that’s my vote for inclusion in the Book of Awesome 2…but I don’t know what all is in the Book of Awesome, having not had a chance to read it yet. So if that’s already in there, I vote for number 895: getting something with actual handwriting on it in the mail.

    thanks for the great blog. I started reading it somewhere around 800 and have checked back every day since.

  17. Super excited for The Book of Awesome 2!
    I would love, love, love to see #480 Taking Friday Off and # 460 The Childhood Super Jump in the book. My husband and I do the Super Jump with my 3 year old son at the grocery store, just like my parents did with me…good times, old memories…AWESOME!

  18. Surprisingly I have never tried or seen #455!! Next time I eat mashed potatoes I will try it!
    I actually made up one “Discovering that you can dig a hole in your mashed potatoes and fill with gravy!! AWESOME :D
    My favorite is #699 “a long hug when you really need it” I just looove it. And thanks everyone for thinking about this stuff, it just makes me feel really good… even though I don’t have the book I read the blog little by little, and just bought for my best friend who lives 3 hrs, away but I hardly ever see her :/ I hope she likes the surprise :)

  19. yay~ free book of awesome! I haven’t gotten around to going through all the posts yet so I don’t have a favourite one. Please keep the inspirational stories coming because they are my favourite part of the blog. :) ~fingers crossed~ XD

  20. I’d love to see “Really, really tall people” and “Really, really short people” in the next book! Two of my favorite entries…well, maybe because I’m 6’6″! :)

  21. Totally AWESOME! Two great books on my wish list:)
    something you could add to your book(i don’t know if it’s in the first book-haven’t had a chane to read it yet)
    the moment at the end of a movie when everybody starts clapping as the epic credits start rolling *awesome*
    also when you wait after the really looong. credits just to see if there is a 15 sec extra clip of the movie :)

  22. #473 When that social event you didn’t want to go to gets cancelled

    It’s really awesome! =)

    I’m from Brazil and we don’t have a nacional edition yet but I do hope they make it one day.

  23. Yay! Book of awesome 2!! I’m so stoked!
    My entry(s):
    going days without makeup (since you’re a guy you prolly don’t know, but it feels amazing!)
    Realizing you get to sleep in tomorrow
    Accidentaly getting more than what you ordered and not paying for the extra (I was at buffalo wild wings the other day and they accidentaly gave me 12 wings instead of 8, but I only had to pay for 8! Awesome!)
    Family reunions
    When strangers give you compliments

    Yay for mashed potatoes!

  24. Nice entry ^^ I don’t like mashed potatoes but here in Holland we have the perfect substitute: Boerenkool. My father taught me how to make the volcanoes, so this was really a nostalgic post for me.

    Congrats on the second book. I saw you want some suggestions? I love: #832 Finally having your ears pop back to normal long after a flight or swim.
    For someone who doesn’t travel alot it is fun when it happens, makes me feel like I’m actually on vacation.

  25. I laugh so hard every time I read the Universal French Fry Sharing Policy blog. Please include that one!!

  26. Please include the one about glue movies. I woke up at 6am this morning, went to check the news and ended up sat on the sofa watching Deep Impact for NO REASON. Awesome. So please put in #519!

  27. I love potatoes! I don’t however dig a hole in my mashed potatoes, I like to just pour the gravy all over it. Every once in a while I will dig a little hole, but the gravy still goes everywhere.

    Love the cake!

    Book of Awesome 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I couldn’t be more excited. I was hoping you would decide to do another one! I will have to get back to ya on which ones I would like to see in the book…..

    To Simone~ Thank you so much for you very kind words the other day. They came at a much needed time.

    1. OOps…sorry…I said cake…its clearly not cake… ice cream sandwich….mmmmmmmmm…….

      Here are some that I would like to see in the book. I’m going to have to go back through the first book later and make sure I don’t post something here that’s already in the first book. But here are my first ones….. :-)


      #465~when a work friend becomes an outside of work friend

      #467~guilty pleasure songs

      #483~do nothing days

      #486~getting through right away when you call a big company

      #488~drying your hands on your pants

      #510~hanging out with your mom

      #519~glue movies

      #520~when a baby falls asleep on you

      #525~that teacher

      #529~finally peeing after holding it forever

      #554~staying in your pajamas all day

      Just a few to start out with….its so hard to choose though…which ones are my favorites. I love them all.

  28. How exciting! Congrats, Neil! You deserve all the love!

    Also, it is 7am and now I’m hungry for an ice cream sandwich!!

  29. Great News!
    Can’t recall everything in book #1 – but I love the “selling” burgers when one is at the bbq helm.

  30. While I’m not a fan of gravey, i do enjoy making a lake of butter in the middle of my potatoes (the healthier option)

    I’ve been reading since about day 570 and it’s too difficult to pick my favorite post, but one of them was the childhood super jump from a few weeks ago :)

  31. If it’s not already in book 1…
    #525- That teacher!
    Come on, what can be more awesome than that special teacher who made your childhood that much more awesome ;)

  32. Sorry to double-comment, but also #552: When you went to the gym yesterday. Because not having to go today really is Awesome!

  33. Yes! I am very excited for the second book!

    One of my recent favs is #490-Driving around with the windows down on late summer nights

    It is one of my favourite things to do!

  34. First of all, another book?! I’m so excited!

    I’ve been backpacking Europe for about two months now and brought the first book with me. It has made me laugh, a lot! One night my friend and I were doing laundry for about 3 hours taking turns reading entries together cracking up and sharing our own familiar stories. Such a great conversation starter! I’m looking forward to the next one!!!

    One of my favorites from the blog (that wasn’t in the first book)..

    #878 The smell and sound of a campfire
    I like this one because smelling and hearing a campfire means your with good people experiencing nature. It’s always a time to just let loose, relax, and open up, even to people you might not know very well. Being in nature means adventures! And adventures are the best!!

    Thanks again for all the awesomeness!!!

  35. #851 your family car growing up

    i’m currently driving around my family’s minivan that attended every sporting event, traveled miles to every family vacation, and got us to school every day. it’s definitely an awesome feeling knowing it got me to school in kindergarden, and still did when i graduated high school this year.

  36. congratulations on book #2!!!
    I’d really love to see #458- “Those Rare Moments When You’re the Only Person On the Beach” in the second edition! I loved it so much that I sent it to my best friend who’s living thousands of kilometers away right now because it reminds me of him. He loved it :-)
    Thanks for inadvertantly sending me a peice of my best friend on a tuesday morning!

  37. I just got my copy of The Book of Awesome yesterday! I had to restrain myself from delving into it as I had lots to accomplish yesterday. But today–that is a different story!!! I am excited about reading it and you know it will make it on my blog–excerpts I am sure will appear over time and of course credit will be given to the Awesome Author!! Thanks for finding the awesomeness in the ordinary!!!! Or the not so ordinary! I love it!!! Cheers! Beth Ann

  38. The first time a baby says your name!!

    The moment that anger turns into laughter when your infuriating husband cracks a joke with genius timing!

    The moment you recognize your mom’s words and attitude coming out of your mouth… good or bad it’s funny!

    When someone shows up with a “surprise” coffee and it’s just the way you like it!

    The smell of Fresh Cut Grass

    The smell of summer rain in the air and the first really big crack of thunder

    Neil — Looking forward to Book #2… I just wish it would have been in time for Christmas! lol

    Take care – C

  39. Whenever I have mashed potatoes, I found just a little glob on top of cornbread or turkey makes everything delicious. My sister always gave me dirty looks from across the table when I mixed foods, but both are gonna get to your stomach anyway…

    Ooh, a second book! I don’t remember what was in the first exactly, but I think #841 (Jeopardy) and #928 (Favorite foods) should be in.

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