So here it is, the first post of a brand new year. It’s lean and it’s mean, in line with the convention that dictates an end to seasonal silliness and a return to more subdued, slimline selves. Under normal circumstances, this entry would have been preceded by one of those big annual review type posts, bridging the gap between Christmas roastiness and January resolve, but the turn of the year brought a turn of events that dictated otherwise, so I will briefly summarise 2013 thus: I wrote, I spoke, I travelled, I judged, I cooked, I ate, I pickled, I fermented – and all in the name of the spud.
The pursuit of the potato took me from Comber and Mash Direct in the northeast, to the Dingle Peninsula and An Spud Off Mór in the southwest; and from the rooftop heights of the Dublin Urban Farm to the decidedly ground-level harvesting of Sárpo Axonas in a Wicklow field. Potato-based winter buttermilk was my most favourite discovery – with pickled potatoes a close second – while Tayto chocolate was grim to say the least.
In between spuds, there was Great Taste Awards judging, London FBC speaking, Irish Blog Awards finalisting and Irish Food Writers Guild membershipping. And while National Potato Day in August generated plenty of print, the spud story of the year was undoubtedly the return of the famine-era Lumper potato. Suffice to say that the spud year that was, was a busy old thing. Meanwhile, however, a new year beckons, so once more unto the breach and let the spud games begin.