Nancy Roman

Mashed Potatoes

Exactly one year ago, I wrote – albeit indirectly – about mashed potatoes (Humbled).  That post was really about learning from animals to be a better human, and the mashed potatoes were an example of Excess.

But here I am again, using Mashed Potatoes in another metaphor. A metaphor for one of my favorite subjects:  Being unashamed of what you like.

On Sunday, my husband and I went out to Sunday dinner. We have done this a couple of times now – had a traditional Sunday Dinner in the middle of the day, like both of our families used to do when we were kids. Not that either of us actually went out to a restaurant for Sunday Dinner – that was something rich people did – but our mothers would put on a nice roast after church, and we’d all stay in our good clothes and eat off the good dishes.

So it feels pretty sweet and nostalgic to have a nice meal on a Sunday afternoon.

This Sunday though, we were busy and it was getting a little late, so instead of a fancier restaurant, we chose one of those big Chinese buffets. Because you can start to eat within 17 seconds of entering.

I have written numerous times that you should be unashamed of what you like, whether it is romance novels or coloring books or fuzzy dice for your car or “Say Yes To The Dress.” You like what you like. That’s okay. That’s more than okay. It’s what makes you YOU. And you are just fine.

So here’s the first part of being unashamed of what you like. Why do I feel the need to explain away our choice of the Chinese buffet?

Because it is not classy enough for classy me?  Classy me who likes poetry and opera but also potato chips and YouTube videos with makeup gurus? And… yes, “Say Yes To The Dress.”

A couple of years ago, I said something about the Chinese buffet (I cannot fathom the reason now) to a young man I know and love, and this 14-year-old kind of sneered at me and declared, “Well, if you like that I guess you don’t like REAL Chinese food.”

And I was taken aback. For a moment, I was a bit embarrassed. And ashamed. Fortunately, I recovered quickly by remembering that this kid was fourteen. I leaned over to him and whispered in his ear:  “I guess I may NOT like real Chinese food. And I also guess that you might be a little snob.”

And it was his turn to be taken aback.

But you know, his words did get to me a little. They must have, as I rationalize why we went out this Sunday to the all-you-can-eat Chinese Buffet. Saying we went because we could get our food quickly. Not because we like it. But guess what? We LIKE it. We don’t do it often because of the calorie count, not because it is beneath us. So when we go, it is a TREAT. We don’t just like it. We LOVE it.

Gee, that feels kind of good to say.

And here’s the second part of being unashamed of what you like.

As I wandered over (okay, trotted really quickly) to the copious food laid out for our gluttony (and speaking of gluttony, they had a sign on the door stating they had a three-hour limit), I noticed a woman sitting by herself.

This is not unusual… lots of folks appear to be sitting by themselves, because one person always watches the purses and coats while the others are loading up. What was unusual is what she had on her plate:  A HEAPING PILE OF MASHED POTATOES. And just mashed potatoes. Nothing else. Just the potatoes.

And for a second, the inner me was fourteen years old, and I kind of sneered. That this woman would go to a Chinese buffet and eat MASHED POTATOES. How dumb.

But fortunately, I recovered quickly.

For heaven’s sake, if she likes mashed potatoes, she likes mashed potatoes. GOOD FOR HER!

Maybe her friends wanted to go to this place, and she just wanted to be with them. GOOD FOR HER!

Maybe she is allergic to Chinese food, but she wanted to please her kids. GOOD FOR HER!

Maybe someone else took the mashed potatoes but decided not to eat them and she didn’t want good food to go to waste. GOOD FOR HER!



Just Maybe…

This Chinese Buffet makes the BEST mashed potatoes in the whole world  –

And I was the one who was missing out!

The next time I go there, I am going to try the damn mashed potatoes.




  1. My husband jokes me about my love of potatoes..I would be the one eating them.


  2. I went to a birthday party where there was a mashed potato bar… You filled a glass full of potatoes and then put toppings such as cheese, sour cream, bacon, chives, etc on top. It was great.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sounds like my kind of party!


  3. I remember those Sunday roasts after church, too. It’s what was done. (Once we went to a fried chicken restaurant because mom who worked, too – had a rough week and there were papers waiting to be graded before Monday. I loved that restaurant as it had hot rolls and honey on the table. Honey. We never had honey)
    Yes, march on for potatoes – or whatever!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, hot rolls are always wonderful!


  4. I like what I like and mashed potato, who doesn’t like mashed potato, weird people that’s who, just saying. Learning to be happy with who we are doesn’t come easy but when it does we are ok saying what we like and don’ t like and not worry about being judged


    • And if you want pizza at the Chinese buffet that’s ok too. Why not?


  5. My husband grew up in a country where food was scarce and mashed potatoes were often the only item served for dinner. As a real treat, he’d have them with tomato paste on top. If I made him nothing but mashed potatoes for dinner, he’d be in heaven! Everyone has their favourite foods and we should never feel guilty about indulging in them (my son would fill his plate with crispy bacon and onion rings at the Chinese buffet we used to go to – I thought it was odd, but that’s what he wanted so I didn’t argue!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I was the Vice President of Finance at ESPN, I still brought a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. It totally de-stressed me for a few moments in a very stressful job.


  6. thelupiemomma

    I could eat Chinese food (real or not) everyday if I had too. 💜 it. It’s funny you mentioned going for your special meal, my husband has always complained when we go to higher priced places about the lack of quality. And then he adds “you know where we never have any problems? The chinese/hibachi buffet.” And that is our new (slightly cheaper) choice and it makes perfect sense because duh all you can eat! Luckily ours doesn’t have a 3 hour limit 😂 not yet anyway


    • I bet people with teenagers love the Chinese all-you-can-eat buffet.

      Liked by 1 person

      • thelupiemomma

        I just hope that by the time my daughter passes the “free” age she eats lol if not she might be a tall 5 year old


  7. Oh, I love my mashed potatoes. When I didn’t feel good, or just didn’t want what we were having for dinner, mom would take mashed potatoes and mash in carrots with them. You know what, its still the ultimate comfort food for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love mashed potatoes now, but back then, spaghetti was my comfort food.


  8. I have an acquaintance (ha) who sneers at me because I like the fried clams at Captain D’s. Everyone in Florida knows that Captain D’s is not a “real” seafood restaurant. There are much better in Florida, but when I have a taste for fried clams, that’s where I’ll be. Usually on Sunday night. ~Elle


    • Yes! Just like McDonalds is the best place (for me) for a burger and fries.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve not found a Chinese buffet in New Zealand, but am a fan of yum cha and western mashed potatoes. Of course I googled “Chinese mashed potatoes” and found Lao Nai Yang Yu Chinese Spiced Mashed Potatoes, otherwise known as Old Granny’s Potatoes. With a name like that, I have to try!


  10. sMashing post. Love it !

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I like what I like. I’ve never been to a Chinese Buffet but I would surely go. Ive been told I was a snob because my definition of brunch is when you get up and wander around tables and eat every thing you can instead of ordering a single item from the menu. Even if the mimosas are free, lol.


    • Oh yes! I love a brunch buffet. A shrimp cocktail and a waffle…. why not?


  12. I like that you stop yourself and try to imagine surprising reasons for someone else’s behavior before allowing that gut-level sneer to take hold.


    • I started the sneer… but why should I feel superior at an all-you-can-eat buffet? No matter what I was having, it wasn’t going to be gourmet.


  13. Ha! This is hysterical. Last weekend a couple of my sisters ( I have a plethora) took He-Who and I out for a Saturday lunch with their families to a Chinese food buffet. For the record we all love it. It is also the easiest way, if you have a large group, to please everyone who might have certain preferences. Our vegetarians were happy with the choices, along with the ones who don’t eat pasta, or don’t eat chicken, etc. You get my point. Anyway, one of my sisters came back with a plate full of mashed potatoes and everyone was teasing her about it. Do you know what she did? She got up and helped herself to another plate of mashed potatoes. She really enjoyed those mashed potatoes.


    • OMG! What a terrific coincidence! Unless, of course, it was your sister I saw. Anyway, good for her!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. As a huge fan of Chinese buffet I am with you… the whole idea is to eat what you like and dam if thats mashed potatoes good on you….. I go to a little cheesy one and they have the best roast beef… who knew…. Take care…


    • On my next trip, I will try the roast beef!


  15. I have been living in China for nine years – and there are one or two mashed potato dishes which get offered on menus, depending on what type of Chinese food the restaurant serves! (They also make the MOST delicious thinly shredded deep-fried (there go my hips) potato shreds piled into a tower). When it comes to eating, China is a continent not a country; there is no single unified ‘European’ food , you can eat Greek or Swedish, French or Spanish – same in China. Next time you go, if they are on the buffet spread, tuck right in!!!


  16. it,s are so radiculous.


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