Friday, 1 June 2018

Memories.

As I have friends coming for a meal tonight as a 'thank-you' for the many times friend S has taken Tess for a walk, I have been preparing food this afternoon.   It is hot here and thundery so no preparation of a lot of hot food - just my sausage dish which is very easy to prepare, followed by strawberries (Scottish) and cream.

Jersey Royals are 'in' with a vengeance, as are things like English asparagus (delicious), so vegetables are no problem.   My Jersey Royals were a bit 'scabby' so I thought it best to scrape them - an easy task as the skins come off with no problem at all.   But while I was doing it I had the lovliest vivid memory from childhood - one never knows when these memories are going to surface.

I would have been about seven I suppose.   We had a large vegetable garden - as did most houses in the country in those days.   My father was a keen vegetable gardener and we rarely had to buy vegetables.   We looked forward greatly to the first 'digging' of new potatoes.   Down the garden we went, Dad with the fork, me carrying the little bucket.   Were they ready?   Oh the excitement.   Yes they were.   As Mother already had the pan on the stove my Dad obviously knew they were ready - but it heightened the excitement for me.

Dig up the first root and - yes - there were enough little round potatoes there for a 'boiling' for three.   Back up the garden we go - to the outside tap where Dad fills the bucket with water.   Then he goes into the wash-house and comes out with the copper stick (we had an outside copper in those days  which he lit on Monday mornings before he went off to work).   Round and round the bucket went the stick and the soil came off and the skins came off.   Two or three new lots of water and they were ready.

In we went with the bucket and the new potatoes - straight into the pan along with a couple of sprigs of mint and a dash of salt. 

Supper was new potatoes with butter.   All three of us could have eaten the same again and more.

Do you have a memory like this which came to you in a flash?

19 comments:

donna baker said...

No one gardened in my house growing up. but we stopped at fruit stands along the highway. They always had cold slices of watermelon. I actually wanted to own one of those for a long time. Today, it seems new potatoes of every variety are in vogue in grocery store now. I have some in my fridge. I love them served in a cream sauce.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

I certainly remember digging new potatoes with my father. There was always a magic about potatoes, first of all because you put an actual potato into the ground rather than a seed. Then there was all the mystery of mounding up the rows. Then digging them up and finding all those potatoes where there had just been one. Yes, and the trick with the bucket and stick. I've recently read "Tamed" by Dr Alice Roberts in which she examines the deep history of species we have tamed and take for granted - things like dogs, wheat, horses, apples and indeed potatoes. If you've seen any of her TV programmes then you'll know that she's very keen on complicated science concerning DNA. Not sure I followed it all but it was interesting nonetheless.

Rachel Phillips said...

Yes, and seeing how many were on the root and then shaking the loose soil and then putting them in a pail of water and then going to pick the mint from the mint ditch.

Barbara Womack said...

What a wonderful memory!
I have always loved digging potatoes. It always seems like hunting for buried treasure. Even now.
The best memory I have from a garden is the first time I ever saw head lettuce growing as a very little girl. The older gentleman gardener took the time to cut the lettuce and make a trip to the springhouse for water. Then he had his wife get an ice cube and he showed me how to rub it over the root end to stop the sap. He said this would make it sweeter. That was probably the best lettuce I have ever eaten. It's been a long time since I sat in that garden, but I think of him with the first lettuce of every season.
Thanks for the chance to share the memory.

Mac n' Janet said...

There's still nothing better than new potatoes dug from the garden and served with butter.

the veg artist said...

Being sent into my gran's garden to pick peas and munching them as we went.

Share my Garden said...

I've got many childhood gardening memories as both my father and my uncle, who lived nearby, were keen gardeners and I often 'helped'. My large spray has broken and I've just ordered a replacement. I suddenly remembered my father's old copper hand pump, used for spraying in the garden and orchard. That tool was made to last - it wouldn't pack up like a modern plastic spray!

Tom Stephenson said...

Three or four nectarines from a small bush made our Summer. Any more and we would have had less respect.

Joanne Noragon said...

Helping my mother and grandmother shell peas on the side porch of my great uncles farm house. Peas with butter. I cannot eat too many peas, of any sort. But fresh shelled are the best.

shadypinesqltr said...

The smell of vine ripened tomatoes takes me back immediately to my grandfather's greenhouse on a sunny day. New potatoes were always served by my Mum with new cabbage and bacon, topped with bacon grease!

Virginia said...

Yes, isn't memory a funny thing Pat. I was holding a cup of coffee recently, and suddenly I saw my mother's hands in place of mine. She held her cup with three fingers, just as I was doing, and I'd never noticed it before. There she was, right in front of me. She's been dead 30 years so it was certainly a memory spring from the recesses of my mind.

Susan Heather said...

I have always loved digging potatoes (and still do).

Bea said...

We had artichokes in our garden. I remember that they took a long time to cook even in the pressure cooker. I'd stand on a chair in front of the stove to watch the top of the cooker move and hiss. I was told never to touch it and I never did. We ate the leaves and heart with mayonnaise.

Cro Magnon said...

The first time I dug Potatoes with my grandsons they were amazed! I also remember our 'maid' getting us children to try to peel a potato in one strip of peel. We would do potato after potato trying to achieve the one single strip, not realising that she was using us as slaves. Ah, Mrs Fuller; I adored her.

Heather said...

Mum and I lived with her mother during the war while my father was in the Army. I clearly remember a lovely sunny morning when Granny sent me up the garden to pick myself a cupful of fresh raspberries to enjoy with my breakfast cereal. I was probably 7 or 8.
There is nothing like the flavour of freshly dug or picked vegs. and fruit. From garden to pan or plate in a few minutes. You can't beat that.

Librarian said...

Heather's comment made me remember the raspberry hedge in my grandparents' garden, separating their garden from next door's. My sister and I were always allowed to pick and eat as many as we liked, provided we'd only get the properly ripe ones. Granddad taught us that they had to almost come off by themselves when we touched them; if it took an effort to loosen them off their stalks, they were not ready yet.
New spuds! I've not had them yet this year. Time to remedy that, I guess!

Elizabeth said...

English new potatoes are so delicious.
Not seen much round here.
In a Persephone novel called Doreen a little evacuee leaves London for a village in the country and wonders where the greengrocers is! Not needed of course!
We had a big fruit cage in Essex that the birds would get in!
Many happy memories.

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

I still get excited about the first meals of potatoes from my own little garden. I've never heard of putting mint in with the water, however. Is that an "English" thing? -Jenn

The Weaver of Grass said...

New potatoes really do benefit from a sprig of mint in the water Jenn.

Aren't we lucky to have such memories. Thanks everyone.