#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. i’m so excited for the book of awesome 2!! so are a bunch of my friends now since i’ve lent them the book of awesome and they got hooked as much as i have. ergo, i’m fairly partial to the recent #456 when a friend returns your book and they actually read it.

    i also adore #828 remembering what movie that guy is from too. happens to me all the time and that moment of realization is such a relief!

    but yeah, i love this blog and the book and i can’t wait for more! stay awesome!

  2. I think #520 – when a baby falls asleep on you is just about the warmest, fuzziest awesomest thing in the world, and should definitely make it into the new book.
    congrats, and thank you for all the awesomeness so far.

  3. Awkward “Are you trying to pound-it, high-five or handshake?” moments. Just pretend like that didn’t happen.

  4. Congratulations on the book news! Sequels are definitely awesome when you know they’ll be at least as good as the original. :)

    I find myself nodding my head in agreement or laughing hysterically to most of your posts. Here are some of my favourites that weren’t in the first book:

    #928 Eating foods you loved when you were a kid
    #892 Taking your shoes and socks off after a really long day
    #847 Old, classic board games
    #814 Cheesy theme songs from 80′s sitcoms
    #805 The smell of crayons [Or was this in the first
    book… well, it’s awesome anyway.]
    #749 The quiet satisfaction of settling the group bill after dinner
    #718 When you sneeze and a stranger says bless you
    #713 Stepping into the shower when it’s already at the perfect temperature
    #709 Waking up to the smell of sizzling bacon
    #699 A long hug when you really need it
    #682 When your boss leaves early for the day
    #678 Sneaking cheaper candy into the movie theater [Love this!]
    #662 Fixing your wedgie when no one’s looking
    #651 When the phone rings and it’s somebody you were just thinking about [And you get to feel psychic]
    #653 When someone compliments your new haircut [‘Cause we’re all feeling a bit insecure about our new dos]
    #629 When it feels like the lyrics to the song you’re listening to were written just for you
    #628 Peeling your socks off under the sheets
    #622 When the dog’s really excited you’re back home
    #601 Getting through it
    #592 Your mom’s scrambled eggs
    #590 Wearing a sweatshirt that hasn’t been washed yet
    #543 That separate compartment in your stomach for dessert [This is a must include: everyone can relate!]
    #530 Listening to couples tell you how they met
    #529 Finally peeing after holding it forever
    #528 When your pet notices you’re in a bad mood and comes to see you
    #521 Calling a mulligan on the day
    #511 The moment on vacation when you forget what day of the week it is
    #491 The Party Save [Very keen social analysis here]
    #485 When someone saves you a seat
    #480 Taking Friday off
    #478 Hearing a song that reminds you of someone you love
    #470 Finally getting the perfect picture
    #469 Seeing a dog that looks like a dog you know
    #468 The moment of anticipation just before the first kiss
    #467 Guilty pleasure songs
    #464 When characters in movies visit a place you know
    #456 When your friend returns your book and they actually read it.

    1. Okay, that list didn’t seem so long when I was making it….. yeah, I have a lot of favourites.

  5. an awesome thing: memories that come from smells. for me, the smell of certain soaps brings me back to my childhood.
    congratulations on the book #2, the world can always use a bit more awesome!

  6. My favorites are:

    #487 Fitting into those jeans you haven’t been able to wear for a while

    #547 Finding treasures in your Spring jacket pocket

    #973 Sleeping in new bed sheets

    Awesomes! :)

  7. Also, is peeing in the shower on the Awesome Things List? If not, it should be…you deny it but you know you do it too!

  8. Excellent!! I´d love to see thursday’s entry:

    #456 When your friend returns your book and they actually read it


  9. Hi Neil! I’m not too sure which posts are and aren’t in the first book but here are my favourites:
    #951, #974, #704, #467 and #815.

  10. Congratulations on the new book!

    An absolute favorite of mine is #829 “Smiling and thinking of good friends who are gone.” Would love to see that one appear in the book.

    Having lost a number of friends at very young age this one resonated with me the most.

  11. A SECOND BOOK!? I still don’t own the first, but I plan on it when I get the money! =)

    Congratulations, this is truly great! awesome! fantastic!

    aaaand, I definitely thought the “mash” entry was going to be about bread bowls so I got super excited until I read the first few sentences.. haha

    1. oh-ho-ho! I think Anna is onto something here.

      Edible “food holders” should definitely be an awesome thing.
      You’ve got your bread bowls, your ice cream cones, wraps, any sandwich really, etc. and also the “unauthorized” versions, like using a waffle for a breakfast plate.

  12. I’m a relatively new follower of your 1000 awesome things. My best friend Ally and I stumbled across your blog thanks to PostSecret!
    I have yet to read all your awesome things, but if I could choose one thing that is totally awesome in my life, it would be my best friend!

    Adventures with your Best Friend = Awesome!

    Since Kindergarden, Ally and I have been best friends. We’ve had countless adventures together from ballet and soccer, to proms and sororities, to traveling around Europe; and we are now packing to move across the country together and start a new adventure! Your 1000 Awesome Things book will be joining our PostSecret coffee table books and I’m looking forward to adding #2 to our collection!!!
    THANKS :)

  13. I’m not sure what has and hasn’t been included in the first book (I really need to get it already!) but I really like “#943 Using Q-Tips the way you’re not supposed to use them”.

  14. The one about finding the missing sock to your odd socks was just brilliant. Made me feel all warm inside and I always think about it when i put my socks on. :)

  15. Congrats!!
    I’ve been thinking about it for a while, but I definitely cannot choose a favorite one! Everytime I read every post I feel the same awesome feeling I have when they happen to me!!
    Just have to say: Thank you to remind me everytime how awesome those little things are! :)

  16. Neil,
    Thank YOU for bringing a little bit of happines into our livingrooms, bedrooms, conversations and everything in between. Congratulations on the Book of Awesome 2.

    (I’m sending a copy of the book to my friend whose in Afghanistan because I know these little things will remind him that there is happiness and love in the world.)

    amalia.martinez89 at gmail.com

  17. So excited to hear about book of awesome 2! I think #809 new socks day should be in there and pregnant women should too if not previously mentioned (especially when you feel the baby kick). :)

  18. Couldn’t be more pumped about book 2! One of my most recent favorites – #462: pain. So deep and has so much meaning to it.

    Love reading the daily blog – brightens up my life – keep it up!!

  19. Thanks for the inspiration to find the awesomeness in my day to day.
    I love all of them and now find myself saying when asked “how am I” Awesome is my number one reply!
    Lisa in NZ

  20. I’m really excited to get the second book once it comes out!

    One of my favourite entries is:
    #498 Long comfortable silences between really close friends

  21. Mashed Potato Lake sculpting has become a contest at our dinner table. AWESOME!

    For Book of Awesome 2: #460 The Childhood Super Jump !!

    …and #844 Celebrities on Sesame Street would also make my list, but without links to watch them, not the same experience.

    Can you also include comments from Freddo? He makes me smile : o)

    1. I just have to add… Life Savers candy!!
      When you are sharing a roll of 5-Flavor Life Savers and you get your favorite flavor. Or, when you are with your grandpa and he has Butter Rum. That flavor only tastes good when you get one from your grandpa.
      Way back when we celebrated Christmas in school and kids exchanged gifts – the best was getting the Life Savers Sweet Story Book. Wild Cherry – AWESOME!

  22. I’m not sure what is in the first, but the pull through parking space should be included! Every time I encounter one i smile :); which happens to be many extra smiles.

    Congrats on the second book!!

  23. Put “#576 Appreciating the beauty of all your body’s scars and scratches” in your new book! I think I’ve already told you how much I like that one. Your book comes out in New Zealand just in time for my friend’s birthday so I’ll be getting it for her :) Thanks for helping out Neil!

  24. Yay for a new Book of Awesome!
    I think last week’s, #456 When your friend returns your book and they actually read it, definitely has to be in the book.

  25. Congrats on the 2nd book of awesome!

    I hope this doesn’t mean more crazed groupies in broccoflower-related t-shirts stalking your events…

  26. I’d like to see “#523:When you learn a new word and suddenly start seeing it everywhere” in the Book of Awesome 2!

  27. Love the book! It has become the perfect gift to give to friends and for friends to give to theirs.

    A personal favorite that I’ve noticed a lot lately is the temperature on the thermostat go DOWN in a house without air conditioning.

    1. Yes! Like when you open the windows for the night, and when you go to bed, it’s 78, and when you get up in the morning…oh yeah… 71! Time to shut them windows, baby, and keep that cool air in!

  28. Can’t remember if these are in the first book, but here are more suggestions

    #879~ The parking lot pull through

    #796~ The sound of rain from inside the tent

    #750~ Dangling your feet in the water

    #717~Sleeping with one leg under the covers and one leg out


    #512~ That guy who helps you parallel park

    #495~ When it suddenly just clicks

  29. I cannot wait for Awesome Things 2 to come out!

    My favorite “Awesome” moment is the last one in the book. My friend and I were talking about the universe today and everything, and then tonight I read the last Awesome of the book. When I was talking to my friend, we felt small and just like we are part of something but at the same time, like there is a lot more going on that made us feel like we were nothing. After reading the closing Awesome, it made me realize that we may be this speck of something in a HUGE universe, but we are lucky to know the people we know and we are lucky that there is love that goes that we can share with one another!


  30. The best thing !! You plug an electrical gadget into the socket. It won’t turn on and your heart sinks. Then you find there is an extra switch!!!

  31. I loved your first book. I can’t wait for The Book Of Awesome 2. Quite often, the little things in life that make our days better are over-looked. I smiled everytime I read about another awesome thing. Thank you so much for bringing these things to our attention again. You’re

  32. Cool! I’ve done cauliflower forests too. The best part is when the stems are really nice and firm AND you can stand them up and they don’t flip over. As a kid, I used to love making cauliflower forests on the side of my plate and having them after finishing everything else on the plate – cos I loved cauliflowers. :-) Oh, and eggs, sliced, with a tomato and a small green pea on it, just for the contrast:-D

  33. :O A Book of Awesome 2! I am totally getting that! Although the kicker is that well, I’ve been trying to catch up to the every-day-posts from #1000 and The Book of Awesome was on my Christmas list, but now I’m not so sure if I should get it as well as the one new one next year if it’s going to have the same + extra awesome things in it. Plus I don’t think I could wait that long… What do you guys think?

  34. When an older woman tells you that your complexion is beautiful.

    When your teenage children add you as a friend on facebook because they think you are cool.

    The smell of the first fire lit in the fireplace in the fall.

  35. I don’t know about anybody else, but I like making ski hills. Then I carefully place pea skiers on the mountain. Then a big carrot coin UFO flies by and drops gravy toxic waste on the people skiing, and the pea people turn mushy. Then the rescue peas come on their meat boards, but nobody is alive. Hee hee! (evil laugh)

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