Spud u'll like
I was divorced from my first
wife because she peeled the Jerseys and from my second because she wouldn't scrape
I've always managed to justify my subsequent bachelor
status because I felt I was in the right.
If you can't
have the world's best potatoes on a plate, so to speak, what else was marriage
Since then two things have happened.
first was that I came over all religious. Spiritually speaking, I thought I had
had a good time, knew it all, and yet some people seemed to have something I didn't.
You get the drift.
But as someone (it was the office landlord)
once remarked - rather boringly I thought at the time - I had been looking at
the world through the wrong end of a bottle of Scotch.
will, I promise, come back to this sober life business.
stopped drinking and came to learn that life is still meaningful and Starbucks
isn't all bad.
And then the second thing: the Jerseys lost
the plot without me.
They don't have the same taste.
they have the magic of being the first new potatoes because it's warmer in the
Channel Islands. They are ready for digging up sooner rather than later than the
others from Cheshire or somewhere called Pembrokeshire.
they look lovely. They gleam. Or at least they do when I've prepared them. They
shine. It's almost impossible to overcook them and they have a natural affinity
with mint popped into the bubbling cauldron just before they are ready.
readiness, by they way, does not mean pricking them with a fork.
third wife could easily go down that road.
It means when
they are done and without being too mysterious let me say that you either know
when that is or you don't. In the same way that you are happily married or you're
But they also used to taste special. They had an indefinable
And it's gone.
Royal Potatoes were one of the world's great foods.
that in Malaysia there's a fruit called something like Duran Duran, which smells
so disgusting, they are banned on public transport.
some people for whom that same ban should apply.
But the difference is that
this fruit tastes divine. There are even websites about them and in the interests
of LiveIbiza readers I am prepared to go there and try them.
Jerseys, the first Jerseys, at £5 a pound or whatever they can laughingly
fool you with, were worth every penny.
Not just the first
ones, but all of them whether shaped like Duran Duran's singer's kidneys or not.
know they originally came from a strange potato that a farmer dug up which was
very big and had sixteen "eyes."
He cut the potato
into sixteen pieces and planted them.
No doubt he used
seaweed for mulching and all that and had the benefit of the climate, which made
the soil temperature just that itsy-bitsy bit warmer.
came the first (and this time, I really mean the first, Jerseys, which also happened
to be kidney, shaped and could be peeled with just a flicker of a thumb.
hand or right, I'm not being discriminatory here.
right I am, and you would have thought (I did, twice) that any young wife could
have done it, but they can't now.
Because no matter what
they do, the Jerseys won't taste the same.
gnarled old men and women planting potatoes in Ibiza. They dig them up, from the
red soil, and replant every tenth one or thereabouts after cutting them in half.
They produce about six crops a year like this and it's amazing.
seen them as they plough a field outside Ibiza's San Jose by holding onto the
tail of a horse pulling a wooden plank wedged between their feet.
we're only after one crop of Jerseys and they can't do it any more.
have heard there is a team of specially-gifted people with rarefied senses of
taste who are examining this year's crop of Jerseys from a bunker somewhere in
As it happens, I'll be in that neck of the
woods next week and I'll attempt to track them down and see what they're up to.
also as it happens (though not as often as I would like it to happen) I'll be
in Jersey in time for the Food Festival there in a fortnight.
can't wait. I'm sure the third Mrs. Newton is already there, beautifully scraped
Jersey Royal in one hand and a beckoning finger on the other.
the other hand, perhaps this obsession is what keeps me sane and single.