I love spuds. Especially baked, or steamed, or boiled, or mashed, or... But not as much as our daughter Katie! She is a leginary spudaholic. In fact, her potato penchance is only matched by her pasta predilection - so much so that Desley made her a potato/pasta cake for her 18th birthday!
I love growing spuds also. The kids love using our old single row potato planter (thanks Brett and Sharon!), and there is something about the long straight rows, the shape and colour of the foliage, and the discovery of the tubers as they come out of the ground. This spring we have planted 3 varieties - the white Sebago, the Red Pontiac, and we are trialling (shhhh...) the low-GI variety Carisma. We have planted 14 or 15 rows that are 75+ m long - over a kilometer of spuds!
Ever wondered why we call this native of South America "spuds"? Although there are many interesting theories about this, it seems this slang term for a potato first appeared in print around 1845 in E. J. Wakefield's "Adventure in New Zealand," apparently in a discussion of local slang: "Pigs and potatoes were respectively represented by 'grunters' and 'spuds.'" Good old Kiwi's!
But going backwards from there, the experts' best guess about the origin of "spud" traces it to a type of short-handled gardening spade also known since about 1667 as a "spud," used for digging up among other things, you guessed it, potatoes. Sounds like a Scotsman's (or a native of Invercargill NZ!) pronunciation of the boring old word spade!
But the bit I don't like about growing spuds is the digging of them! Can you imaging digging over a km of them with a spade ("spud"), or a fork? So I am reaching out to anyone who may have a single row potato digger quietly growing old in the shed or under a tree - have mercy on me, and my back, and allow me to give the old digger a new and happy home!