a selection of potato dishes

How do you like those potatoes?

Now that the 2018 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Rodeo has ended and winners of each contest are being announced weekly, the regular flash fiction challenges have resumed.

Carrot Ranch flash fiction mashed potato super power prompt

This week, Charli Mills challenged writers to: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that pairs mashed potatoes with a superpower. It can be in any circumstance, funny or poignant. Go where the prompt leads.

A month or two ago on readilearn, I wrote a post titled Learning to be friends — unleash your friendship superpower.  In that post, I suggested that we need to

Help children to see that, although they may have some special friends, they can be friendly towards everyone. No one should be excluded. Everyone should be included.

Explain that being friendly towards others encourages others to be friendly towards them. Being a friend is like a superpower. It helps everyone, including yourself, have a good day.”

ideas for teaching friendship skills in early childhood classrooms

I also discussed some new and existing resources to support the teaching of friendship skills in early childhood classrooms.

How could I not choose friendship as my superpower, but how could I mash it with potatoes as Charli suggested?

Of course, there is the Wiggles song Hot Potato that includes mashed banana, why not mashed potato?

And there is the popular party game Hot Potato where everyone sits in a circle and passes an object like a ball, bean bag, or even a potato around the circle while music plays. Whoever is holding the object when the music stops is out, so it is important to pass it quickly, like a hot potato, so as to not be caught with it. Could the game be played with mashed potato? It could get rather messy, I think.

fist game one potato two potato

When I was a child, we used to play an elimination game using the song One potato, Two potatoes. Everyone would stand in a circle and put out both fists. “It” would go around the circle, bumping each fist in turn. Whichever fist was bumped on ‘more’ would be put behind the player’s back. The song and actions would then be repeated until only one fist (one player) remained.

Then, of course, there is the Mr Potato Head toy which made a comeback in the Toy Story movies.

Singing songs and playing games, including these, is always a great way to help develop that friendship superpower.

Although I’ve presented quite a mash of potato ideas, I haven’t even mentioned real potatoes yet.

If I stayed with childhood stories, I would say that mashed potato was a regular feature of evening meals with a humble serving blobbed unceremoniously on the plate. Roast potatoes were traditional for Sunday lunch and always much preferred. I never saw mashed potato as anything to get excited over, but Hub, who hails from Northern Ireland, has high praise for the champ of his younger days.  Though I’ve tried, my attempts haven’t ever matched his expectations. I am surprised to see that mash is now a popular item on many restaurant menus —not quite so humble anymore, and perhaps a healthier choice than chips, which seem to be served with nearly everything.

So where to for a mashed potato superhero? Sometimes you need to look no further than the plate in front of you.

Here’s my response.

If only

Jake pushed the plate away.  “Don’t like mash.”

Mum sighed and turned away.

As Jake stared at the potato, out popped a tiny, lumpy, and obviously grumpy, old man. He shook his fists.

Jake leaned forward. “Pardon?”

“I’m leaving.”


“Ya always push me away. Say ya’d rather chips or roasties. Doncha know we’re all the same—inside—only outside’s different.”

“Didn’t think—”

“Your kind—unkindness—never do. Gotta learn ta look beyond the differences, kid. Learn ta love us all.”


“What?” said Mum, turning as Jake scooped the last spoonful of mash into his mouth.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.




48 thoughts on “How do you like those potatoes?

  1. Hugh's Views and News

    What a delightful piece of flash fiction, Norah. When I was a child, mash potato was my best friend because it was a place I could hide some of the vegetables, I disliked, under. It wasn’t long before my parents realised what I was doing, though. Still, I had to give it a go, didn’t I?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jennie

    Norah! You have put so many wonderful potato’s into my basket. Thank you for The Wiggles (sang that often at school), Mr. Potato Head, and One Potato… You and your potatoes captured some of the best of childhood. Then, your potato flash fiction – absolutely brilliant!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Charli Mills

    Ha, ha! I think that’s a flash to read to children to get them to eat foods that feel left out! I love champ! Had no idea it was called that, but I love mashed potatoes with fresh chives. In fact, I’ll be making humble champ to go with the turkey next Thursday. A lovely mash of potatoes, Norah and a flash fancy as restaurant chips!


  4. robinettercleave

    Oh, I LOVE it!! Great post, Norah – put a smile on my dial straight away! By the end, I was laughing my head off! Fabulous! (And thank you for the reminder of One potato, Two Potato. I’ll use that tomorrow with my learners to choose my helper for the day.) Yes, please can we read about Mr Grumpy Spud again … or Mr Grumpy broccoli …?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Robin. I’m so pleased you enjoyed the post and got a laugh out of it too. Please let me know how your students go with One Potato. Two Potato. I’ll consider more Grumpy vege stories, if Charli dishes them up again. 🙂


    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for your kind words, Geoff. Mr Grumpy Spud. I like that name. I don’t have any plans for his future at the moment. Maybe he’ll have other ideas.
      BTW, I’m really enjoying “Apprenticed to My Mother”. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. thecontentedcrafter

    Oh, you are clever Norah! The two melded together beautifully. I confess I didn’t think you could make it happen, certainly not in just 99 words, no more, no less! Loved the mashy grumpy little man, such an ingenious way to get the message out there.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Pauline. I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it either. I’m pleased it worked in the end. I had to do a lot of peeling and mashing to make it fit. I appreciate your kind words.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Norah Post author

      It would be my pleasure! I remember writing a story about vegetables for my son when he was quite young. One day, I’ll resurrect it and “do something” with it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    The wonderful worldly potato. Your songs games and memories even crossed all borders. The little guy in the mashed potatoes was effective for Jake as your flash was an effective and fun response. Choose kind even when the choice is which kind of potatoe.

    Liked by 1 person


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