Oct 27

Potato Nostalgia


My house is full of the smell of lob scouse as I write this. There is a big pot of “lobbies” bubbling away on the stove.

It is an evocative aroma which brings back memories of my mother, my childhood at Tawd Bridge and my Nana’s kitchen on washing day. My Aussie husband even has a great fondness for this very British and very Lancashire dish, (just as well! He tends to get plenty of it!)

So lots of fond memories are going through my head today, and thoughts of my family and friends in Upholland and Skem.

Another fond memory of my childhood in Lancashire is the joy of new potatoes. In my childhood we were a potato growing district. The school holidays we had in late autumn were known as the potato picking holidays, ( or T’pratoh pickin holidays.) I used to go with my Mam and other neighbours, following the potato picking machine along the drills in Forshaw’s field. But it was in spring (I think) when we had the joy and unique taste of new potatoes. Is it still the same? There is an incredible array of different and more fashionable vegetables on the market these days. Can you still get good new potatoes and spring greens?

Even though we have grown our own potatoes here in Australia on many occasions, to my mind we have never been able to replicate the taste of new potatoes that I remember from my younger days in England. And I have never seen spring greens available in the shops in Australia. It’s funny what you miss!

Anyway, where we live now in the Western District of Victoria, we have a “Potato Man”. He is a farmer who periodically loads up his pickup truck (mainly with potatoes but sometimes he has carrots or pumpkins as well) and travels the road from Ballarat to Hamilton (approximately 200km.) He stops at all the little villages along the way, selling his produce. It is a wonderful service and his produce is of excellent quality and comparatively cheap. He arrived yesterday saying he had new season potatoes, only dug the day before, so we got 12kg.

And I have to tell you that they WERE new and fresh with the very thin skin peeling off with just a brush of the thumb! I cooked a few straight away and we ate them just plain with butter and they were superb! The closest I have ever come (but no quite!) to that distant memory of English new potatoes!