For those who may have wondered – and with good reason – whether this week’s resumption of service was but a flash in the proverbial frying pan, herewith a new installment in the Spud Sunday series.
Included below is a podcast from the fine folks at the Eden Project, featuring (among other things), an interview with my good self on all things spud. Though this dates from a few years back, it never got an official airing here.
In it, they consider the matter of boldly going to a new planet, and the set of plants that you might want to stash in your spaceship before you go. And yes, long before Matt Damon popularised the notion in The Martian, spuds have been on NASA’s radar as space-worthy starches. In more recent years, experiments conducted by the International Potato Centre in Peru in growing potatoes in simulated Martian conditions have shown positive results.
So, without further ado, here’s the episode (you’ll hear me from about 7 minutes in, on spuds, space and why an extra-long thumbnail can be a very useful thing).
I imagine the words of an intrepid reader echoing – with all the might of a Brian Blessed delivery – into the void that is the almost 6 year absence of posts hereabouts.
Alive, yes, and broadcasting once more into that void.
The truly observant reader may even have noted that, for a while there, The Daily Spud was not at all alive, in the internet sense. Subject to sabotage and more than a little deleted. A nasty business, conducted by faceless villains (and no, not even the anti-carbists would stoop this low).
After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, the site has returned, in what feels like a positively Lazarus-style resurrection. And while restoration of the Spud classics would be reason enough to mark the occasion, it also happens that it was on this day, thirteen years ago, that the Daily Spud began.
Now, a surly Teenage Spud might ask who even reads blogs anymore? Isn’t it all tick chat, snap tock and whats not these days? Certainly the internet landscape is much changed since the Spud began, though the only truth that really matters is that nobody will read it if you don’t write it – but if you write it, then perhaps they will come.
Meanwhile, a lone boiled spud sits in my fridge. Evidence that some things remain true in my world – in the matter of a pot of potatoes, it is always worth adding an extra. For the best spud may, in fact, be the leftover spud, for with that spud comes a myriad of future potato possibilities.
Last month, I – as a blog, that is – turned seven. Fancy that.
And while seven years might suggest, oh, a certain itchiness or an extended sojourn in Tibet, in spud years, I think of it as closer to 21, a coming of age of sorts. Though it’s been quiet on these pages of late, potatophile that I am, I have remained wired in to spud channels, and let me tell you that they have been abuzz. Not least among recent events – and coincident with my birthday last month – was the launch of a three year potato promotion campaign by Bord Bia here in Ireland and the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board in the UK, sporting the tagline “Potatoes: More than a bit on the side.” It aims to encourage those who may be inclined to dismiss potatoes as old fashioned – fuddy duddy spuddies, as it were – to think again. I didn’t hesitate when asked to get involved.
Alas poor spud, we loved you well. Thing is, we seem not to love you quite as much now as we did way back when.
The situation is this: sales of fresh potatoes in these parts have been on a more or less downward trajectory for several years. Be it that they’re seen as a less than exciting, or less than convenient choice for dinner, or mistakenly perceived as fattening (when, they, personally, contain no fat to speak of) or because of general anti-carb sentiments, spuds have become a less frequent visitor to our tables. This is not news, exactly – it’s a story that has popped up regularly over the past couple of decades and, for that matter, regularly on this blog (prompting, among other things, my top ten guide to sprucing up your spuds).