[[quoteright:320:[[WesternAnimation/SteamboatWillie http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/MickeyPotatoBin-SteamboatWillie_6218.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:320:[[{{Mondegreen}} Cackadok and hart, thats smart!]][[labelnote:*]]It's actually "Hope you don't feel hurt, big boy"[[/labelnote]] Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!]]

->''"Behold the potato! Bow to this fruit of the earth, and then peel it as if it were the last task of your miserable life!"''
-->-- '''Rolf''', ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy''

It has many names. Kitchen Patrol. Spud Bashing. Whatever it's called, it seems you CantGetAwayWithNuthin, and once you're caught it's a SmashCut to sitting on the floor of a drab kitchen somewhere next to a sack of potatoes, peeling them one at a time.

''The'' stock PunishmentDetail in the military in fiction, presumably for its instant-recognizability factor as opposed to, say, digging holes in the ground (read: latrines).

No longer TruthInTelevision, at least in the U.S. military, due to heavy use of third-party contractors who employ civilians to do this kind of stuff. Well, that and there are machines that peel potatoes these days.


* Warrant Officer Oreldo in ''Anime/PumpkinScissors'' is ''very good'' at peeling potatoes, and references this trope as the reason why.
* A nonmilitary but definitely punishment version: one of the ''Anime/TenchiMuyo'' OVA episodes had Ryoko, Aeka, and Mihoshi doing this as their share of repairing the extensive damage to a hot spring resort, with varying results. Ryoko did a hack job on hers with questionable accuracy, Aeka primly carved each millimetre of skin with painstaking deliberation, and Mihoshi outstripped both easily (and boasted about it).
* In the second season of ''Anime/StrikeWitches'', Gertrud gets sentenced to this for violating orders.
* In the second chapter of ''Manga/MobileSuitCrossboneGundam'', Kincaid tells Tobia that if he's going to be part of their group, he's going to have to earn his keep. Cut to them ''both'' in the mess, peeling potatoes (with a badly damaged blender in the background).
-->'''Tobia:''' I want to ask...you guys aren't letting me join just because you need someone to peel potatoes, are you?\\
'''Kincaid:''' Hahaha! Nah! I'm a pilot, but I still have to do this in my free time.\\
'''Tobia:''' Eh...I guess they don't pay too well, either.\\
'''Kincaid:''' ''(deflated)'' No, they don't.
* Alluded to in ''LightNovel/InfiniteStratos.'' In the first season OVA, while the girls are preparing dinner, Laura is given the potato peeling duties. She does so by [[KnifeNut chopping her combat knife clean through the center.]] Her dialogue also indicates she's done this before. She's the only one of the main characters who has been in the military.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* This was parodied/lampshaded in an issue of ''Franchise/GIJoe'', where several Joes peel potatoes and basically take turns complaining until the uber-serious Gung Ho tells them to stop bellyaching and do their jobs.
* Seen in the French-Belgian comic series ''ComicBook/LesTuniquesBleues''.
* Spoofed in the ''ComicBook/LuckyLuke'' album ''Le Vingtieme de Cavalerie'' (lit. the 20th Cavalry), after an Indian raid during which the food stores are burned. Luke sees four men sitting on the ground around a bucket making peeling hand motions. When he queries the Sergeant, he is informed that life in the cavalry goes on, potatoes or no potatoes. The sergeant then berates the men for not pretending to peel thinly enough and tells them that the colonel will pretend to inspect the pretend peels personally.
* A standard facet of life in a Roman camp in ''ComicBook/{{Asterix}}''. Despite, y'know, being set ''before'' the discovery of the potato, or even the New World.
* In a [[ComicBook/DisneyDucksComicUniverse Scrooge McDuck]] story, Donald and his nephews were stuck in a ship, condemned to peel potatoes until the return to Duckburg... and to make things worse, with a counting parrot that started to see how many were there!
* [[ComicBook/MickeyMouseComicUniverse Floyd Gottfredson]]'s ''The Pirate Submarine''.
* Happened to Alan Scott, the GoldenAge GreenLantern, when he was in the army. Unable to explain his absence without blowing his secret identity, he was assigned potato peeling as a punishment. Fortunately for Alan, his sidekick Doiby Dickles was able to take over the peeling when Alan needed to become GreenLantern again.
* In one issue of ''[[ComicBook/TheSimpsons Simpsons Comics]]'', Grampa tells one of his many war stories. In this one, he spent a great deal of his military service peeling potatoes. He was so good at it that he became a war hero.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Shown as part of Jim's [[MiseryBuildsCharacter "character development through manual labor"]] maturation sequence in ''Disney/TreasurePlanet'', along with other related drudgery like [[PunishmentDetail a mountain of pots to wash]], barnacle scraping ([[RecycledINSPACE in space!]]), etc. In this case, the potatoes are actually all-purpose alien fruit-vegetable-things called "purps", but we still get the same imagery you normally get when this trope is played straight: the big pile to be peeled, the paring knife, the lonely corner, and Jim distracting himself from the mundanity of his task with memories and fantasies, as well as the idea of huge amounts of work being piled on the lowest-ranked crew member in order to show him his place and keep him busy.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Used as a punishment in ''Film/{{Tigerland}}'' for Army draftees during the Vietnam War.
* Babydoll and Rocket converse while peeling potatoes in one scene of ''Film/SuckerPunch''; Babydoll is so distracted we see she's "peeled" the same strip of potato over and over, leaving a large hollow in it.

* ''Literature/TheGreatBrain'' series has this happen several times.
* Done by the DrillSergeantNasty to the trainees in the Creator/KimNewman novella ''Literature/TeddyBearsPicnic''. In a particular sadistic twist, he changes his mind and then orders the recruits to glue the skins back on.
* In the book, ''See Here, Private Hargrove,'' (1942) it is frequently an object of punishment. The book's setting was before the U.S. entered WWII.
* As MildlyMilitary as [[Literature/XWingSeries Wraith Squadron]] could be, even they have punishment detail. The very first time all of the members of the new squadron were together at once, while Wedge was listing off their respective specialties, Face Loran decided to interrupt.
-->'''Wedge''': "Face is one of our insertion experts, [[WeWillNotUseStageMakeupInTheFuture proficient in makeup]], speaks several languages other than Basic--"
-->'''Face''': "Don't forget, master actor."
-->'''Wedge''': *nods amiably* "And sometime cook. You're peeling tubers on kitchen duty tonight. Do you have anything else to add?"
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}''
** In ''Discworld/FeetOfClay'', Nobby thinks to himself that anyone who responds to "Who likes good food?" in the military is going to be volunteered for KP duty, as part of an internal monologue as to why you should ''never'' volunteer for anything.
** In ''Mrs Bradshaw's Handbook'', Sto Lat MilitaryAcademy teaches the sons of gentlefolk to be officers. In keeping with the [[OfficerAndAGentleman class of recruit]], punishment details include julienning potatoes (as well as polishing oyster knives and waltz drills).
* In Creator/SpikeMilligan's war memoirs, he mentions entertaining himself during these duties by peeling the potatoes down to the size of peas... which made no difference, because they cooked the peel as well.
* In ''Literature/TenSixtySixAndAllThat'', Simmel/Lambert/Wormkin (the text varies) is made an escullion as a punishment for his attempted (and largely incomprehensible) rebellion. In an illustration, he is shown peeling something that looks like a potato.
* ''Literature/BetweenPlanets''. The protagonist isn't allowed to join the Venusian guerillas unless he has useful skills. He says he's a good shot with a handgun, can speak the language of the native Venusians... and [[TheTriple knows how to wash lots of dishes]] (because he was working at a GreasySpoon until then). His officer quips that the last is indeed a useful skill for a soldier.
* In ''Literature/TheStainlessSteelRat Gets Drafted'', the Rat mentions that in the modern spacefaring military Kitchen Patrol is considered so degrading that it is forbidden to assign it as a [[PunishmentDetail punishment]] and, therefore, [[DrillSergeantNasty it is always assigned as a punishment]]. When subjected to it himself he snaps, and when he comes to he's nearly killed the chef.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Rimmer and Lister were forced to do this in an episode of ''Series/RedDwarf'' after ticking their captain off. Only they have the bluntest knives it's possible to find. So Lister has the "great" idea of getting out of having to peel the literal mountain of potatoes by having a special virus eat the potato skins. Unfortunately for the duo, [[TheNudifier the virus also eats clothes]]. [[FromBadToWorse And it spreads on contact.]]
* Kendra Shaw in ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|2003}}: Razor''
* [[Series/GomerPyleUSMC Gomer Pyle]] does this a lot.
* ''Series/{{MASH}}'': Klinger was frequently threatened with KP duty if he didn't knock off his ZanyScheme of the week to get a Section 8. Occasionally we saw him pulling KP duty including, yes, peeling potatoes.
* On ''Series/MadMen'', when the Drapers take in Betty's semi-senile WWI veteran father, Don comes home one day to find he's peeled all the potatoes in the house thinking he was on KP duty.
* In the ExpositoryThemeTune to ''Series/OpenAllNight'' Gordon is shown in the army peeling potatoes; this is basically what he did during his entire tour.

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* ComicStrip/BeetleBailey, of course, has this happen to him quite often.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* While the actual event didn't happen in game, in ''[[VideoGame/WingCommanderTheKilrathiSaga Wing Commander II]]'', three of the survivors of the ''Tiger's Claw'' reminisce about a prank committed by a pilot from the first game who didn't live to the second that landed him doing this for a week.

* ''Webcomic/LilMell'' had Mell and Sergio put on potato-peeling duty when the homeschooled kid Mell brought for show and tell started a revolution against the school. Sergio lampshaded this by wondering where all the potatoes came from. (The cafeteria ladies. They joined the rebellion on the students' side.) Then Mell started a competing revolution, armed with the two potato peelers.
* ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'': Schlock, Kevyn and Brad were [[http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2000-09-01 sentenced to this once]]. Schlock, being a BlobMonster, peeled them with digestive juices rather than the peeler.
-->Kevyn: "Tell ''no one'' how we finished so quickly."
-->Brad: "I'm having stuffing instead of potatoes this week."

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The [[WebAnimation/HomestarRunner Strong Bad Email]] [[http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail189.html "pet show"]] has Strong Bad triumphantly announcing that he's doing this as a way to get out of admitting that he and The Cheat lost the competition.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/RenAndStimpy'' BootCampEpisode "In the Army", this is done straight the first time, the second time has them scraping potato-peelers over watermelons, and the third time has them scraping potato-peelers over nuclear bombs.
---> '''Stimpy:''' I think the [[DrillSergeantNasty Sarge]] likes ''you'' best, Ren, because he gave you the most potatoes to peel!
* The ending of the classic Disney cartoon ''WesternAnimation/SteamboatWillie'' has Captain Pete punish Mickey for slacking on the job by making him peel potatoes.
* The 1942 ''WesternAnimation/DonaldDuck'' cartoon [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sky_Trooper Sky Trooper]] where he joins the Army Air Corps, and has to peel potatoes after he nearly gets his [[DrillSergeantNasty training officer]] killed in a mishap.
** He also starts that one peeling potatoes, watching planes go by and wishing he were in one of them... and he absentmindedly peels one potato into an airplane...which flies and brings Sergeant Pete's hat back to him... which he absentmindedly starts peeling.
*** He also ends "Donald Gets Drafted" peeling spuds, while the last verse of the specially-made song "The Army's Not The Army Anymore" plays sarcastically in the background:
--->The Army's not the Army anymore\\
It's better than it's ever been before\\
The Sargent isn't tough anymore, He's careful not to bore you\\
Just tell him when you're peelin' spuds, And he will peel them for you\\
''(Donald holds up a just peeled-off potato peel spelling "Phooey!" at this point)''
* A few Donald Duck cartoons have this, even ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales'' (usually because he messes up a lot in the Navy). In one cartoon where he plays a large role and his three nephews accidentally get him in trouble, they sneak into the kitchen to help him because of it.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'' episode "Will Work For Ed", Ed gets a job on Rolf's farm, and his first task is to peel a ''huge'' mountain of potatoes. Edd attempts to help, first by MacGyvering a peeler out of a hairpin, then building a machine to do the job faster; Rolf's mad enough at that, but he's absolutely livid when he sees Eddy using a tennis racket to julienne the spuds.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheJetsons'' where George joins the army, he's assigned this. It involves pressing two buttons, one to peel an entire sack of potatoes in a second, and one to mash them. He spends both seconds complaining about how hard punishment detail is.
* In a Mister Know-It-All segment in ''WesternAnimation/RockyAndBullwinkle'', Bullwinkle demonstrates how to escape from Devil's Island prison. When Boris the warden forced him to peel potatoes, Bullwinkle decided to jump into a sack and await being shipped off the island. Unfortunately for him, potato soup was for dinner.
-->'''Boris''': ''(Looking into pot of potato soup)'' Whoever peeled these spuds did crummy job!
-->'''Bullwinkle''': ''(Popping out of the pot)'' I was doing the best I can!
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Chowder}}'' saw Mung and his titular apprentice in servitude to [[TheRival Endive]] in exchange for an exotic fruit necklace. Their final task was to peel "growtatoes", which are just like normal potatoes, except they grow exponentially until fully peeled and threatened to crush the two chefs.
* This was the first task that ''WesternAnimation/MrBogus'' was forced to do during his first day of military training in the first act of the episode "[[Recap/MrBogusS3E5BattleActionBogus Battle Action Bogus]]".
* ''WesternAnimation/PrivateSnafu'': Snafu is stuck on KP in "Gripes"; peeling potatoes with with his feet while scrubbing pots with his hands and sweeping the floor with his butt.
-->''I joined this here Army to join in the fun''
-->''A-jabbin' the Jap and huntin' the Hun''
-->''And look at the job that they hand out to me --''
-->''K.P., K.P., K.P. and K.P.''
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/TaleSpin'' features Kit being forced by Colonel Spigget to peel ''turnips'' for rebelling at a Thembrian flying camp. Spigget is forced to take the task up after his bumbling is exposed.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Still very much TruthInTelevision around much of the world, as even in the USA it started to become a DeadHorseTrope only in [[TheSeventies the '70s]] when the military started to outsource the service functions like feeding the personnel. Many other armies still do it in-house, providing ample possibility for this trope.
** Even in ships at sea, where you don't have civilians to outsource the potato peeling to, it's not used as a punishment detail anymore; everybody (below a certain rank) just gets to take a turn.
* Interestingly, in the Soviet and Russian army, kitchen patrol was always considered a ''privilege'' and not a punishment, as it allowed the soldier to sit in a warm kitchen doing a tedious but easy job, rather than work his ass off doing whatever the seniors saddled him with. Also it basically let the soldier eat whatever he wants whenever he wants, not a set menu at set hours only.
** Combat soldiers in the [[UsefulNotes/IsraelisWithInfraRedMissiles IDF]] tend to have the same opinion for similar reasons--kitchen duty is usually easier and less unpleasant than, say, guard duty, cleaning or maintenance work, and provides access to food outside of meal time. Soldiers in supporting roles tend to have the opposite opinion; their regular duty isn't so unpleasant that the kitchen is an improvement.
** In the American military, KP duty is an occasional privilege for trainees in Basic Training, though they don't handle any of the food. The trainees are typically kept busy washing dishes, mopping floors, and cleaning up messes, at least in the Air Force. It is considered a privilege because, while it can be back-breakingly exhausting, the trainees can eat whatever they want for mealtime and get to avoid doing Physical Fitness training for a day.
** It might be becoming a thing of the past in Russia as well, as Russian military have also started to outsource the feeding of its personnel. On the other hand, this reportedly brought a marked ''increase'' in both quality and quantity of the food, as civilian contractors are decidedly more professional at cooking than most soldiers, and also steal significantly less than military intendants for fear of losing the contract.
** In the Finnish Army, peeling potatoes is called ''perunateatteri'' ("potato theatre") or ''pottis'' and it is considered a convenient, if a tad restricting, break of the army chores and a good chance to socialize with the supply units and eat well. Sometimes a soldier assigned to the task may not only peel, but ''sculpt'', the potatoes - much to the amusement to anyone either preparing the meal or eating it.
* Snuffy Smith was not the model soldier. He tended to have an attitude problem, and was MildlyMilitary at best. That said, when the plane he was serving as a gunner on was badly damaged and engulfed in flames, he stayed aboard to tend to a wounded crewmate and fight the fires (and shoot at the Germans, who were still attacking them), for which he became the first person in the history of the Air Force to receive the Medal of Honor other than posthumously. However, when it came time to actually award him the medal, it took a bit of time to find him. He was on kitchen patrol -- in the time it took to prepare the ceremony, he had gotten in trouble for sleeping through a briefing. Although the task in question was not peeling potatoes, he did peel potatoes for the newspapers.