While the snow has brought the UK and Ireland to a virtual standstill, Irish people are finding the fun in it all by either making or posting videos online, totally taking the mick (Irish slang for making fun of) out of the masses clearing the bread from the shelves of the stores in Ireland. So what about the potatoes??
The potatoes were the staple diet of my generation, there were potatoes with every meal, mashed, whole old, new, in a stew, out of a stew,(this would be when one of us little darlings sneaked them out of the bowl and mashed them into something nearby) one of the main ingredients of a sheperd’s pie, roasted in the oven as part of a delicious Sunday dinner or chopped, thinly or thickly, tossed into a pan of oil on the cooker (no deep fat fryers in those days) fried to a crispy texture and served with whatever other ingredients were in the press (Irish word for cupboard).
Now, when sent to the shops by the Mammy and being asked to buy ‘new’ potatoes, we kids would often scratch our heads (no we didn’t have nits, well not that I remember on that particular occasion anyway), puzzled, as sure when you bought potatoes weren’t they automatically new? After all, you were buying them from the vegetable shop and unless it was a shop that sold second hand vegetables, which we hadn’t heard of, well the feckin (not a curse, used as an adjective to describe something or some situation that is a bit frustrating or even amazing to the person uttering the word) produce was new wasn’t it. We would hardly go in and ask for second hand potatoes, sure they’d be rotten and no good for making chips which were our favourite way to eat potatoes. Feeling a little silly the first time around, giggling nervously, my sister and I asked for a bag of ‘new’ potatoes and were both relieved and surprised, when the shopkeeper didn’t laugh but grabbed a bag of the relevant produce and handed them over.
Going to the vegetable shop as a teenager was sheer pleasure for me as I had a big crush on one of the guys who worked there part-time. There were two brothers, one blonde and the other dark and they were bleedin massive (Dublin slang for absolutely gorgeous, not to be confused with the word ‘massive’ which would mean the object of description was huge). It would have been hard to decide which was one was cuter, but the blonde one was my crush.
As long as that guy was working in the vegetable shop, there was never a lack of potatoes in our house, or any other vegetable for that matter. It meant eating them, of course, to create a need to replenish stocks and I clearly recollect my lovely Dad encouraging us to eat our brussel sprouts and joking that if we did, we would have big babies. Now being the only lover of brussel sprouts in a family of six, my siblings used to pass some of theirs onto my plate. I would happily devour them, despite the fact that they caused unrelenting, often smelly farts to escape from my nether regions for hours after. Well the aul man (Dublin slang for Dad) had the last laugh albeit from heavenly plains, every one of my babies was bleedin massive and I mean that in every sense of the word!!
Mashed, boiled, chipped, baked, roasted or even used as a ball when the last of them had been thrown over the wall (the balls that is, not the potatoes), the main ingredient of the staple diet of Ireland in the 60s, 70s and even some of the 80s, the potato, brought sustenance, entertainment, romantic dreams,and a wide range of vitamins and nutrients, but it would appear that bread has now taken over as the most sought after food of choice in Ireland….I wonder if our local baker is bleedin massive!!