We can get so blasé about food these days.
Bread or beans or beef or bananas – from the bleurgh to the bon appetit – it’s just stuff we eat, right?
And when things are a bit Mother Hubbard, we can nip to the supermarket, grab a takeaway or use our nearest ‘net connection to hunt and gather without leaving the couch – point, click, sorted.
So it’s easy to forget that food takes time (beyond the delay between order and arrival of your 16-inch pepperoni special, that is). If you cook, and you do so from scratch rather than bunging a few bits in the microwave, the time-in-food-out equation starts to look different, with more time spent often balanced by greater value placed on the end result; even more so if you grow or rear any of the food involved (spend months defending your patch of green from garden invaders and you savour the survivors greatly). It’s the kind of premise on which the Slow Food movement was built and which gets GIY-ers going in their gardens.
And when you have on your plate, as I did this weekend, potatoes, not just home grown, but home-bred by someone who has taken several years and probably thousands of seeds to do so, it brings a whole other level of respect to the table. That, and a great wash of purply-blue.
I had finally liberated my crop of Dave’s All Blue from the soil, a variety of potato bred by collector, breeder and all ’round spudophile, Dave Langford, and grown from a tuber given to me by Dave last year. You will not find these in your local supermarket or garden centre or anywhere except in Dave’s collection or – if you’d been there – on my most recent Sunday dinner plate. They were funky to look at, floury when cooked and a very great deal more than just stuff to eat.