Slow painting

Monday 29 September 2008


That's probably the most we can say about this year's potato experiment. Pink Fir Apple has had its moment on our plot, all five rows of it, and the family verdict has not been favorable. From "what is THAT?" from teenage son, to "it looks like something the cat might bury" from the man with the strimmer. Once they're boiled, or even better, roasted with a little olive oil, they do indeed have 'yellow flesh, with new potato flavour'. But getting them there is another matter. I never thought I'd feel squeamish about a vegetable, but digging them up actually makes me nauseous.

To begin with, they're...mottled. The pink bits give way to yellow-ish bits, which may just be yellow, or they may, as you discover when your fingers squelch through the flesh, be semi-liquid. Even if they're not mottled, most of the tubers are rotting away at the pointed end. And then there are the knobbles. Lots of knobbles, which make preparing them a tedious business. And they're so small...

It's probably in the Scottish genes to feel so acutely about a potato. Next year we're not deviating into any of this fancy nonsense. It's going to be a national stalwart, like Duke of York. How do we get through the winter with Pink Fir Apple? For my grandmother, the height of culinary satisfaction was having a decent "tattie to your soup" - a floury boiled potato added at the point of serving to a plateful of Scotch Broth. I now understand.

Here they are then, the horrid little pink things:

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