Well now, this post has been a long time coming. Having been sucked into the black hole that is house renovation, the Daily Spud has become closer to the monthly spud, while prospective posts have languished on the proverbial back burner. Now that I have acquired an actual back burner – along with the kitchen to go with it, and of which more anon – it’s time to fire things up again. First stop PEI – Prince Edward Island – which, through the good offices of the Canadian Tourism Commission, I had the great pleasure of visiting back in May.
Lighthouses: a common sight on PEI, and which, for many years, guided visitors and settlers to the island, many of them Irish.
I reckon that the Irish settlers who came to PEI in the 1700s and 1800s – all 10,000 or more of them, according to the Irish Settlers’ Memorial in PEI’s capital, Charlottetown – probably felt at home. Or at least as at home as you can feel when you’re several thousand miles away on the other side of the Atlantic.
There are many things you might find yourself doing on a Saturday morning – being a guest, this past Saturday, of broadcasting legend Dave Fanning on his weekend radio show on RTE’s 2FM was one of the less usual (and, as it turns out, more enjoyable) of those things. I was on the show to talk about these lads:
Chips, and just why we love ’em so
It was a topic prompted by this recent article in the Irish Independent (where I also managed to get my spake in) and, in turn, by no less than the recently held World Chip Championships in Limerick. Though it’s unlike me to miss such a momentous spud event, I did get to meet chip enthusiast Lema Murphy – declared winner of the Champion-Chips with her triple cooked beauties, served with baked bean and bacon sauce and deep fried egg yolk – and who was also a guest on Dave’s show. You can listen back to our chip chat on the RTE radio player, from about 1h 18m 30 in.
And if you were wondering how I could manage to miss such a thing as the World Chip Championships, it was owing to the fact that I was out of the country conducting some international chip investigations of my own…
It would be a slight exaggeration to say that I went all the way to Toronto just to have chips.
In fact (get me!) I travelled to Canada, through the good offices of the Canadian Tourism Commission, principally to visit Prince Edward Island, where they do a very good line in all things spud (and of which you’ll hear more over the coming weeks). However, having taken the opportunity to visit Canada’s biggest city – and ever keen to broaden my spud horizons – I did make a point of having chips (or fries, to use the local lingo) when I got there. Not just any old fries, though, but that particularly Canadian creation, poutine.
Can it be a year since you left already? I hope Canada is treating you well and that your Barry’s tea supplies are holding up.
While the news reports hereabouts are generally doomy and gloomy, at least they aren’t a kind of World War Two bad, in which case we’d be looking for you to send your tea back to us!
The Da – your Granda – who, as a young army cadet, was responsible for doling out rations during WW2, tells me that the tea allowance was 3/28th of an ounce per person per day – which I reckon is about a teabag’s worth. With rations like that, you’d be hanging out for the emigrant relations to do the needful and send tea home (like Grannie, who, according to this custom’s declaration, was sent 10lb of tea in 1942 by a cousin who had emigrated to New York).
Declaration for 10lb of tea, sent in 1942 to my Dad's mother from her cousin in New York