#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 just came across the post for “Yellow Teeth” as an awesome thing, and it made me smile!
    When I was little I was always teased for my discoloured teeth–nothing worked to fix them, so I’ve just embraced them–and I’m happy you think they are awesome!
    YAY for Book of Awesome #2!
    Smiling, with yellow teeth,

  2. *finding out that your favorite book is going to have a sequel! That should be one of the ones you put in the book.

    Congrats! I can’t wait!

  3. I would looooove to see the childhood superjump, the moment I saw it my heart melted, and I shared it with my mom. What a great memory!

  4. I don’t remember if these are in the Book of Awesome already, but Really, Really Tall People should definitely be in the sequel! That’s the post that got me started reading this blog, and as a really, really tall person, I totally related to it!

    A big face full of dust? My life in a nutshell. But I wouldn’t change it for anything. It’s AWESOME!

  5. I loved the book of awesome and can’t wait for the book of awesome 2!!

    You should put, earing a song that makes you think of someone you love. I can totally relate and I’m sure lots of people can too. It’s sweet and i’m sure not too many people stop to take time to think of that special someone.

  6. #601-getting through it. this one brought tears to my eyes the first time i read it and i was a little disappointed it was not in the first book. so please include it in the second one! cuz its AWESOME.

    1. that was a great one, i was watching for it throughout the first book. its an awesome one to help us moving on through tough times.

    2. Yes, I like that one too. I couldn’t remember if it was in the first one or not. I need to crack that thing open again.

  7. I love mashed potatoes, and so does my whole family.

    As for the book, I’d have to say 998 & 927 , because where i live it’s freakin’ hot and having the chance to go outside and get grassstains are rare and if you do you’ll definetely need a cool glass of water.

  8. i don’t know if this topic has been covered “When Your favorite place gets even better” ….but last night i experienced my own Awesome. My boyfriend and I had both had a long day, so decided to go down to our local favorite tavern for dinner. It is comfort for us. It’s split into two rooms the restaurant quite and comfortable and the bar dark and loud. But last night I noticed the bathroom was no longer where it use to be but now a doorway to another room was there. We walked in the room to find a brand new pool table, dart boards and a brand new hi-def 50 inch plasma t.v. and big cushy couches lining the walls. OMG…. our number one favorite place just got better…how is that possible? i told our server they had always received 5 stars from us…but now I’m going to have to add a star…a 6 star rating. AWESOME

  9. I live in Italy now and mashed potatoes and gravy are a long-lost memory from my days growing up in Montreal (like poutine is). Italians would think mashed potatoes and gravy is totally gross, it’s comfort food to me.

    Please enter me into your contest, I don’t think your book is available yet in Italy :-)

  10. Good lord, making my mouth water, homey.

    And congrats, man! Doesn’t get much more awesome than that.

    Still gotta mull over my submission for TBoA 2, but make no mistake, it will be awesome!

  11. This site always makes my day, every day, and I’m thrilled your having success with your books.
    I’d love to see #462 in the book because it was just awesome to see you put a positive spin on something usually considered negative!

  12. There’s so much awesomeness in the world that we most definitely need a 2nd book of awesome!

    I’m not sure which entries have made it into the first book…I’m dying to get it but am too poor right now… but I’d have to say #699 (A long hug when you really need it) is still one of my favorites. There’s nothing quite like a great hug at the right moment to make your insides all happy and warm. Awesome indeed!

  13. Goodness, is the sculpting of mashed potatoes and adding gravy ever fun. So tasty. Love it.

    If it isn’t in the first Book of Awesome, I think you should add #509, “Riding your bike really late at night when the streets are completely empty” because I had forgotten that type of joy, and now partake in it weekly. Woohoo!

  14. Congratulations! I recently just read through the first Book of Awesome, and found it to be totally and incomparably awesome. Can’t wait for part 2!

    Honestly can’t remember if this is already on the website, but:

    • Eating things fresh out of the oven
    • Finding your favorite childhood book and remembering every word
    • Remembering places from your childhood that you’ve forgotten
    • That moment as the roller coaster goes down the first big hill and/or losing your stomach down a big hill
    • That first submersion into the water (pool or lake, take your pick) on a really, really hot day

  15. Words cannot describe my love for mashed potatoes! And that is an epically awesome ice cream sandwich, I want one!

    My two favorites are 521- When the person you’re meeting is even more late than you and 506- Calling a mulligan on the day, but if I’d have to choose one…I’d vote for 506. It cracks me up every time I think of stepping on your cat and then turning around and going back to bed.

  16. Great news!

    Don’t know if you have a place to post suggestions, but I think it’s AWESOME – The first time you use your wipers after you’ve replaced them. It starts to sprinkle and you get that sinking feeling because your wipers had been working so poorly, then you fire them up and BOOM – perfectly working, new blades to clean the windshield. Or is that just me? :)

  17. That’s fantastical news! As for suggestions… I’m not sure if you have this, but:

    waking up to the smell of breakfast.


    1. Also meeting someone with the same name as you. Lol especially when your name isn’t that common. Awesome!

      1. i’ve known someone with the same first & last name as me for most of my life…

        we were a grade apart at school, went to the same primary & high school &&& lived around the corner from each other…

        ++ its not even that common!

  18. The 4 seasons! Living in a part of the world that gets all 4 seasons full on I really appreciate the changes and the differences that each one brings. It’s nice to physically feel the passage of time and as I get older each spring/summer/fall/winter I notice more incredible things about each season.

  19. BRAVO!

    Wow congrats on your second book! That’s such great news for you!

    Please keep doing what your doing – you bring a simple joy to me and so many others every day.

    Continued success!

  20. It’s hard to narrow down my favorite AWESOME moments, but here are two of my recent favorites:

    # 465 – When a workfriend becomes an outside of work friend

    # 476 – Biting off the last piece of the popsicle without losing any of it

  21. #986 – having the car in front of you move up enough so that you can make your right turn – Awesome!
    #465 – when a work friend becomes an outside work friend – Awesome!
    #709 – waking up to the smell of bacon – Awesome!

    And the mashed potato gravy boat is, to me, the best thing about Thanksgiving – Awesome!

  22. Congratulations on the second book! The countdown is on.
    One of my favourite awesome things that should be included is having a baby fall asleep on you. So snuggle-y and cute and the thought of it instantly makes me smile

  23. I have an addition and I’m not sure if you already have it on the list.
    Smelling something and having it revert you back to childhood/great memories.
    This happens to me occasionally and ALWAYS brings a smile to my face.
    Freshly cut alfalfa field (or just after it rains) – i love the smell of that, it reminds me of freshness, rainy days and time with horses.
    Library books – this could also include the feel of the plastic covers they put on EVERYTHING. I have an e-reader but nothing comes close to the smell and feel of library books.

  24. I am only twelve but I absolutly LOVE 1000 Awesome things! My mom ordered the book online then I read it and sinse then, I have been reading over all of the Awesome things on the website I missed! So far, my favorite is #528 When your pet notices your in a bad mood and comes to see you. My puppy Reggie always does that and knows just how to make me feel better… AWESOME!

  25. I just ordered a copy of your first book online, but am entering anyhow as it is the perfect book to leave somewhere for somebody new to discover! I vote to include #872 sand scrunching for I live in the heart of the prairies and miss that seaside goodness. Thanks for all the awesome! =) K

  26. I just moved and think that unpacking the last box is the best feeling in the whole world. It means you’ve really claimed your new place as home. Aw, yeah!

  27. “#490, driving around with the windows down on late summer nights” has to be in the second book. With just 10 words, this entry captured the essence of my high school summers and gave me a rush of nostalgia.

  28. #488 drying your hands on your pants

    Because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t?

    Besides, it is a flashback, a blast to the past, an homage to all those times when we dried our hands on our pants as children and, come on, those were some awesome times.

  29. Congrats on the second book! I recently discovered this blog and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside! :) I don’t know if it’s in the first book, but I love “Guilty Pleasure Songs”. Reading about Ace of Base was such a blast from the past. I remember rollerskating in the middle of the cul-de-sac I lived on with my friends while my neighbor blasted “The Sign” on her boombox. So awesome.

  30. #458 Those rare moments when you’re the only person on the beach – because any AWESOME moment that can bring DINOSAURS into it….is double awesome :)

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

    Why? Not because it happens to be near the top of the list. Because it just happened to me yesterday.

    I don’t have a lot of friends who read. Plain and simple. Me? I read a lot.

    I saw a co-worker the other night reading a John Grisham thing. I’d just finished reading “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”, and offered to let him borrow it while I started on the next one.

    Two days later, he’d finished “Dragon Tattoo” and we spent most of the drive in the carpool talking about Lisbeth Salander this and Mikael Blomqvist that.

    Damn, that feels good!

  32. DEFINATELY the mashed potato entry should go in the book! They are the feature and the star of thanksgiving and christmas! Forget turkey or ham, it’s all about the mashed potatoes drowning in fresh gravy. As soon as I saw the title of this entry it immediately put a smile on my face and brightened up this very rainy day

  33. I love this blog! I don’t know if this is already in the first book or the blog but that moment in the airport after you’ve gotten off your plane and you see your loved ones waiting for your arrival…AWESOME!!

  34. Congrats on the second book. This year for mother’s day, both of my daughter’s grandmas got the first book. Now I know what they will be getting next year! ;-)

  35. Congratulations on the new book! I actually have not read the first book yet, but I check the website everyday and I love it!

    I have my own happy list and basically do the same thing and have added some of yours to my list (:

    #683 Finding a Styrofoam container from last night’s restaurant dinner in your fridge.

    You should use that one. It actually happened to me this morning. I went to Red Robin last night and woke up to some french fries and a yummy chicken caesar salad wrap. YUM.

  36. Congrats on your new book!

    I think #460-The Childhood Super Jump and #417-The Moment At the Bar When Everyone Starts Singing Together should be included in the new book!

  37. I’ve been reading this for a while- but never really commented. however, i just had to share my awesome moment:When you totally realize something that is absolutely perfect- idea for a friend’s birthday, what to spend your giftcard to Barnes and Noble on… hahahaha. (: <– emoticons are also awesome.

  38. Finally going to the bathroom after you had to go for a really long time. Cause we all know relieving yourself feels awesome! We all do it from time to time, hold it in, no bathrooms for another 50 miles. Then theres the moment when you fine one and you let out a big sigh of releaf ahhh!

  39. Neil, i must thank you sincerely as well for putting some awesome into my work week.

    the little things in life are the awesome things and you help us to remember that.

    I hope you include one of my favourite entries:
    #632 Slowing Down

  40. Awesome 2.o?! Can’t wait!!

    Definitely ought to add the sink hose / sprayer thing as an AWESOME thing. Seriously, who uses those to do the dishes? I don’t know anyone who does. But, they are great for soaking siblings and practical jokes. (Also, can anybody tell me… are Christmas lights on this list?? Those are the epitome of AWESOME!)

  41. Mashed potatoes are wonder food. They go with everything and make it all taste better!

    Some of my Awesome things-
    -Baking on rainy days
    -Do nothing days
    -Ordering food for delivery
    -Shaving and looking at the hair on the razor
    -Wearing clothes straight from the dryer

    I can’t wait for the second book!

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