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Spud Sunday: Five Spud Years

As a toddler, my nephew John was fierce fond of numbers.

Writing or reciting numbers – or arranging magnetic digits on the fridge – was a guaranteed way to soothe almost any of his junior upsets, and it became a well-used tool of the babysitting trade. Not all numbers were equal, however, and John had a particular liking for the number five. Though fours and sixes were all very well, when all other digits failed, a figure of five would draw a smile.

Number five

This weekend I, too, had occasion to smile a number five smile, as the 5th of October marked the fifth anniversary of my first ever post, and here I still am, five years – and an awful lot of food – later.

And though I have, on occasion, wondered about the life expectancy of this blogging endeavour – not to mention my continuing capacity to both describe and digest potatoes in all of their many forms – I’d had another reason to smile this past week when The Daily Spud once again featured in the list of finalists for the Irish Blog Awards. Curiously, it was not in the Food and Drink category this time, but for Best Blog of a Journalist, something which makes me feel both childishly giddy and all grown up at the same time.

blog awards 2013 badge finalist

Of course, The Daily Spud wasn’t the only thing that started five years ago. Though I was entirely unaware of it at the time, Blas na hEireann, the Irish Food Awards, presented their first ever set of gongs on this very weekend five years ago, as part of the Dingle Food Festival.

blas na heireann logo

It’s an event – run by food producers, for food producers – that has grown hugely in that time and, this year, us five year olds came together, as I travelled to Dingle for the weekend to assist in judging the shortlisted entries from over 2000 submissions across a massive 80+ categories. Mostly this did not involve eating spuds – though I took particular delight in seeing O’Donnell’s Crisps achieve a gold award for their new Hickory BBQ flavour as well as an award for Best Emerging Producer, Tipperary – while the overall Supreme Champion award went to An Olivia Chocolate of Mullingar.

Dingle Food Festival 2013

As for the rest of the weekend, though I was sorry to miss the first Northern Ireland Potato Festival which took place at the Giant’s Causeway, the Dingle Food Festival was a fine location in which to celebrate five spud years. The town was a-buzz on Saturday, blessed with warm October sunshine and huge participation in their afternoon Taste Trail, where restaurants, shops and pubs turned out hundreds upon hundreds of taster plates, from kangaroo to Dingle mutton pie, and market traders lined the busy streets. I workshopped my way through the day with a seaweed foraging walk on the rocky shores of Smerwick harbour with Darach Ó Murchú, as well as presentations on the Japanese Art of Umami with Junko Hamilton and Cooking with Seaweed with Sally McKenna, based on her newly published book Extreme Greens, a hugely accessible and informative guide to understanding seaweeds and incorporating them into our daily lives.

Smerwick harbour seaweed

Smerwick harbour, seaweed heaven

Sally McKenna signing Extreme Greens

Sally McKenna signs copies of Extreme Greens at the Dingle Food Festival

Sally notes, among a great many other things in her book, a saying in pre-Famine Ireland that described the order of care for the woman of the house: “Prátaí; Páiste; Feamainn;” meaning Potatoes, Child and Seaweed, and the value of all of these things to the household was well understood. And though I might not apply priorities in quite that order when it comes to family – where fans of the number five are always number one – here, in this little corner of the internet, be it for another five years, or more, or less, potatoes will always come first.

19 Comments

  1. Tim

    Happy Blogiversary! Here’s to many more :-)

  2. Daily Spud

    Thanks Timbo – you who has the honour of having been one of my first ever readers :)

  3. Kristin

    Happy blogging birthday, Aoife! I think it is surely a sign of your blog’s success that your nickname amongst the food bloggers is now Spud. Here’s to whatever new adventures and opportunities the next five years might bring you! x

  4. Daily Spud

    Thanks Kristin, and I do indeed answer to Spud (and it’s not just food bloggers who call me that these days!). Who knows what the next five years will bring – there have certainly been lots of good things that have come my way in the last five years, and lots of good people too! x

  5. Janet

    Congratulations on your well-earned award!

  6. Daily Spud

    Thanks Janet (and thanks for reading!)

  7. Michelle McGinley

    Five years. Wow, well done. That’s a lot of spuds. Some fab recipes, even for the culinary challenged! And I love the photos too.

  8. Daily Spud

    It is a lot of spuds Michelle, and a lot of words. A lot of everything, in fact. Wouldn’t have imagined it all five years ago!

  9. Brian@irelandfavorites

    With spuds and potatoes she wanted to thrive,
    mixed with new stories a blog came alive.
    A writer galore.
    we all wanted more.
    Now we celebrate year number five!

    Congrats Aoife.
    Appreciatively Brian.

  10. Tom Cox

    Belated Happy 5th Birthday. And sMASHing news about the blog awards listing.

  11. Kavey

    Raaaaaaaaaah! Eat me eat me!

  12. Daily Spud

    @Brian: your poetry (and dedicated reader status) is appreciated as always

    @Tom: you could say I was boiled over by it all!

    @Kavey: am hearing that loud & clear, complete with squeaky voice :D

  13. Babaduck

    Happy Half Decade Miss Aoife Spud xxx

  14. Daily Spud

    Why thank you Ms Aoife Babaduck! xx

  15. Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.)

    Huge congrats Aoife – here’s to at least five more!
    XO

  16. kickpleat

    Huge congrats on 5 years blogging!!

  17. Daily Spud

    @Mardi: thanks hon’ and it was so lovely to finally meet you this year xx

    @kickpleat: thanks Jeannette – yours was one of the first food blogs I read and hope I can keep going for as long and as consistently as you have!

  18. Jenni

    Huzzah, DS!!! Happy Blogiversary! I am celebrating my 5th as well–I knew we started together way back when!

    You are Fabulous!

  19. Daily Spud

    And huzzah Jenni, my dear friend! Here’s to your equally fabulous five year old blog – sure we’re practically twins :D

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