421: Making Hash Browns

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Revision as of 18:00, 23 May 2013

Making Hash Browns
There are at least fourteen ways this could go badly (seventeen if that fork is a dangerous crossbreed.)
Title text: There are at least fourteen ways this could go badly (seventeen if that fork is a dangerous crossbreed.)


In this comic, Cueball is attempting to make hash browns. A hash brown is a way of serving a potato where the potato has been diced or shredded in some way, then pan-fried. Cueball's method for making hash browns, though, is rather unique. He is throwing potatoes into the air and striking them with a flaming tennis racket at his friend, who is holding a tray with a dangerously tilting glass of orange juice balanced on top. His friend is holding a fork in the other hand. The idea is that the tennis racket would simultaneously dice the potato, fry it, and then launch the completed product towards his friend's plate. In reality, this probably wouldn't do much. To properly pan-fry food, it must be cooked in a pan with some oil to lubricate the food, with enough time for the heat to transfer through the oil and spread properly through the food. Hitting a potato with a flaming tennis racket would not cook it as it would strike it too quickly, and it probably wouldn't dice it either unless the wire of the racket is incredibly sharp. Cueball would probably just end up batting a very hot, uncooked, unprepared potato at his friend.

The title text comments on how many ways this experiment could go badly, and jokes that there are even more potential problems if the fork Cueball's friend is holding is a cross-breed. Here are just a few potential ways the activity could go wrong.

  1. Cueball could burn himself with the flaming tennis racket.
  2. The can of gasoline could leak and then Cueball could drop the racket, causing a fire to spread.
  3. Cueball may fail to hit the potato and it would get dirty from the ground.
  4. Cueball may fail to hit the potato and whack himself with the aforementioned flaming tennis racket.
  5. Cueball may hit the potato and knock the plate out of his friend's hand, smashing it.
  6. Cueball may hit the potato and knock the glass out of his friend's hand, smashing that instead.
  7. Both of the above could happen.
  8. Cueball might instead hit the potato at his friend's head.
  9. Cueball could accidentally launch the tennis racket itself (if he has exceptionally poor grip,) at his friend.
  10. His friend might catch the potato and burn himself on it (it would be a hot potato.)
  11. Cueball could drop the tennis racket onto the can of gasoline, causing it to explode.
  12. Even if none of the above happened, Cueball would fail to actually cook the potato
  13. Likewise, Cueball would probably not succeed in dicing the potato.

It's unclear what Randall may or may not have had on his mind, though, with regards to specific ways the situation in the comic could go wrong.


[Cueball stands holding a flaming tennis racket. He is throwing a potato in the air as if to serve like a tennis ball. Behind him is a red gas can and a sack of potatoes. Across from him is a another person holding a fork in one hand and balancing a serving tray with a glass of orange juice on it.]

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He could hit his friend with the potato who could then fall back onto his fork. 20:09, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

He could dice the potato but not propel the freshly-made hash browns forward; they would instead fall on head. 18:31, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

Because a potato getting dirty from the ground is totally one of the worst things that could happen. Newsflash: Potatoes come from the ground, and these ones don't look like they've been washed anyway. Alcatraz ii (talk) 00:06, 8 November 2013 (UTC)

That's probably not a glass of orange juice but a cardboard container in which the french fries are delivered at the fast-food restaurant, painted on the outside and white inside, of the characteristic shape with a cut-out on the front side. What can be more appropriate to catch the fries with? 00:45, 31 January 2014 (UTC) I think the "orange juice" looks like frying oil. 08:10, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

I would have thought one of the ways it could go wrong would be if the glass of juice was literally half-empty. 19:42, 1 November 2014 (UTC)

I feel it is important to include suspension of disbelief, such that we are assuming the tennis racket method has been devised properly and they can indeed fry and dice the potato with the tools they have aquired. Thusly, the searing hot potato could land on his friends face instead. 01:56, 10 January 2015 (UTC)

I agree that there are a lot of ways the hypothetical flaming potato could cause more problems. I would also like to point out that he is clearly trying to “serve” hash browns the same way he would serve a tennis ball. -- 09:04, 11 December 2015 (UTC)

Really, this unjustified prejudice toward fork/spoon cross breeds still irks me. Anyone dealing with utensils should know good and well that the breed doesn't matter, but rather the environment and people around them. Raised properly, a spork mutt is just as kind and gentle as any purebred fork or spoon. I swear, they make one movie and it instills years of prejudice. 10:59, 23 March 2017 (UTC)

The flaming potato could hit the platter, scattering burning hash browns on the friend. This could ignite the contents of the glass as it gets flung back to the server. Randall Munroe, meet Rube Goldberg. Jelsemium (talk) 03:37, 14 December 2017 (UTC) Jelsemium

Man, I really want to try this. Herobrine (talk) 22:59, 13 March 2018 (UTC)

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