Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Spud man

Is there anything more wonderful than digging your own potatoes out of the ground just in time for dinner? I can’t think of anything right now.
Everything about the experience is thoroughly rewarding. The spring in your step as you march confidently to the vegetable plot, in the comforting knowledge that you’re not entirely reliant on Sainsburys for everything. Then there’s plunging your fork into the ground, and turning the rich soil to reveal the buried treasures, which always somehow surprise me as they appear between the tines. One, two...three, then an unexpected fourth, fat, yellow, joyous spuds which – if you’re really lucky – you haven’t put the fork through (I’m getting better at this - the trick, I’ve found, is to stick the fork into the earth further back from the yellowing haulms of the potato plants than you might think, and then agitate the soil with a rocking, twisting motion to tease the tubers up unharmed). And then as you stoop to pick up your prize, rubbing the flesh clean with your thumbs, the smell of fresh soil and that earthy, nutty crispness somehow simultaneously knocks you off your feet and roots you firmly to the ground on which you stand.

This is soul food; and you haven’t even got them back to the kitchen yet.