Spuds And, Um… ‘Spunts’

So there we were, stumbling across frozen ground in the darkness carrying a powerful flashlight and a digging fork… and Hubby turns to me and says, “This is going to be a blog post, isn’t it?”

Yes; yes it is.

Why were we apparently robbing graves in the dark of night, you ask?  Well, I’m pretty sure it’s my dad’s fault.

He loved potatoes, and we had them for nearly every meal.  Every now and then my mom would sneak in a bit of rice or pasta; but as my dad tactfully explained, “That was okay, but I wouldn’t want it every year.”  I love potatoes, too, and most of our meals include the humble spud.

But the other night Hubby came into the kitchen where I was making gravy and announced, “You know we’re out of potatoes, right?”

My jaw dropped in horror.  What?


We had roast beef.  With gravy.  And NO POTATOES?  I turned off the heat under the gravy pot and marched toward the door.

“Please tell me we’re not going out to the garden,” he said.

“Of course we are.  We have gravy.  We need potatoes.”

“It’s pitch dark, and the ground is starting to freeze.”

“I don’t care.  We need potatoes.”

Which led to the aforementioned jacklighting of potatoes.  As it turned out, it was remarkably similar to grave robbing since some of the hills were a little on the rotten side; but we did end up with enough good potatoes to soak up our gravy.  Whew.  Crisis averted.

Later in the week I was waiting my turn in the insurance office, playing Scrabble on my phone to pass the time.  It’s a point of pride for me to win – in all the time I’ve had it, the app has only beaten me once.

I was down to three tiles, so I knew the game was almost over.  I hadn’t seen the Q (worth 10 points) yet, which meant the app had it.  By then there was no way the app could win – I was already beating it by nearly a hundred points.  But I really wanted to stick it with that Q.

I had three letters left, and there was only one place where I could unload them all at once.

But I hesitated.  The available letter on the board was C.

And I had U, N, and T.

I’ve already mentioned my profoundly Canadian habit of never using foul language in public even though I’m actually a complete potty-mouth.

I was in public.  And it was a really rude word.

It wasn’t as though I was going to stand up and yell it out at the top of my lungs, but still.  My Canadian conditioning runs deep.

I stared at the board.

Sneaked a surreptitious glance around the waiting room to make sure nobody could see my screen.

Then I snickered inwardly and unloaded the dirty word that ended the game.  But I felt as though I should apologize to the little old lady beside me, just in case she’d seen it.

…But then again, if she was as Canadian as I was, theoretically her private vocabulary was just as colourful as mine.

Any dubious victories in your world this week?

45 thoughts on “Spuds And, Um… ‘Spunts’

  1. Hang on, hang on – am I reading this correctly? Did someone say that they don’t eat potatoes unless they are tinned or made into chips in England? Well, I moved from there about 13 years ago, but that’s certainly not the England I remember from nearly 40 years of living there and several visits since! Growing up, we always had a big sack of spuds in the laundry – a huge hessian or thick card sack, holding something like 56 pounds of the things. Nowadays you buy them in 5kg bags in the supermarket, but they still get cooked and eaten boiled, mashed, roasted, sauteed, fried, or baked. Most good English pubs and cafes list Baked Potatoes on their lunchtimne menus – topped with chili con carne, or cheese and ham, or various other mixtures (my staple cafe takeaway lunch when I worked in London was baked potato with a chicken, mayonnaise, cheese and corn mix – called chicken supreme for some reason – with loads of butter, sour cream and fresh ground black pepper!). Potatoes in a tin are definitely not a staple in Britain – possibly if you were camping and didn’t have access to a fire to cook a potato in foil in the embers… but even then NOT a common food choice in England!


  2. I haven’t read the comments so if this is a repeat, sorry.
    I need a four letter word ending in UNT meaning woman.
    Do you have an erasure?


  3. You guys on this blog have mentioned potato chips, latkes, rice and all sorts of other carbs, but not one of you has mentioned SWEET potatoes! Don’t they count? They’re much healthier than their white potato cousins, have a prettier inside color, and are delicious. One of them with butter can be a whole lunch!


    • Dang, you’re right! I guess I didn’t think of them because I had never even heard of sweet potatoes until long after I grew up and moved to the city. Our diet on the farm was pretty much limited to what we could grow, and our climate was far too cold for sweet potatoes.

      But… after I discovered them, YUM! I love sweet potato fries with chipotle mayo dip. Sweet potatoes mashed together with white potatoes are delicious, too. And you’re right, they are a happy pretty colour!

      Mmm, now I want some sweet potatoes… 🙂


  4. I was completely distracted by the fact that you can beat the Scrabble app. Really? Very Canadian of you to ponder whether to use the ‘word’. It only would have been funnier if you had gone around the room apologizing. As to the potatoes it was my job every afternoon after school to get the potatoes ready for dinner. I rarely eat them now. I think I consumed my life quota.


  5. Living between two major potato-producing provinces as we do, nearly every evening meal we had while I was growing up was meat and two vegetables, one of which was potato. That continues to this day, although I work pizza in once a week now 🙂 I was amazed when I started reading blogs from England where some form of pasta and tomatoes seems to be the standard meal, and potatoes come in cans and are expensive. I love potatoes, and a baked potato with butter is my idea of a great snack. My husband likes them, too, but mostly just the ones that come thinly sliced in a crinkly bag . . .


    • Mmmmm… potato chips. My downfall! I can’t even keep them in the house because I just gobble them until the bag is empty.

      That’s funny about England’s tomatoes and pasta – I guess I just assumed that if potatoes were a staple in Ireland, they would be in England, too. Who knew? (You, obviously.) 😉


      • It never occurred to me that England doesn’t enjoy a plentiful supply of potatoes. My Mom’s side of ancestry is from Cornwall, England where they have pasties to eat. (Pronounced like past, not paste) Pasties are single serving meat pies with potatoes and other root vegetables cut into cubic centimeters or smaller, wrapped with a firm pie crust without a gravy, and baked without a pie pan. Men working in the mines would bring a pastie down into the mines for their lunch. I seriously doubt that Cornish folk would use canned potatoes for such a basic, every day sort of meal.

        I also think baked potatoes are a wonderful side dish. It hadn’t occurred to me to snack on a baked potato. The baking time alone rules it out as a quick snack. I love that Wendy’s Fast food chain sells a basic baked potato. It feels far more virtuous to have a baked potato with a cup of chili than to down a burger and fries. Perhaps the virtue is only wishful thinking, I don’t really want to know if I’d be better off with another option when I can’t bring my own meal.


        • I love Wendys baked potatoes, too! I like the plain sour cream and chives one as a side dish, but my favorite meal is the broccoli cheese one with a small chili poured over top. Ooey gooey goodness! (It also makes two meals for me – I eat half and bring the other half home. That feels virtuous enough to make up for all that cheese sauce.) 😉


    • Well, now, I have to confess that I was leaping to my conclusion on what they call anecdotal evidence based on the few blogs I was reading. With el Tea’s comment, I figured it was time to dig deeper. It seems there is quite a bit of potato production in England but a lot of it hits the market as processed product. There’s a graph (here: https://www.potatopro.com/united-kingdom/potato-statistics) that shows most of it is sold as chips (our french fries), instant potato, canned potato, and crisps/snacks (our chips), with only a bit sold as “other potato products, frozen or not frozen” which still doesn’t really tell us how many just plain potatoes are available! I give up for now; just know I tried. Also a tip on cooking – I generally microwave my baked potatoes, so they don’t take long to cook. I know that’s not a REAL baked potato (because my husband told me so) but I like them, and since I can’t eat the skins, the inside is all that matters to me. Microwaved russet potatoes end up creamy and soft and moist, and you don’t even have to add the butter but it’s better 😀


      • “other potato products, frozen or not frozen” – hmmm. I guess theoretically that would include actual raw potatoes. I’m still struggling to wrap my brain around canned potatoes – that sounds really revolting to me, but I won’t judge until I’ve tried them. After all, they are still potatoes, so how bad could they be?

        I microwave my “baked” potatoes, too. I pop them in a microwaveable bowl with a tablespoon of water in the bottom and cover the bowl with a plate, and they’re virtually indistinguishable from “real” baked potatoes except that their skins aren’t crispy. Hubby was dubious at first, too, but now he’s a convert… especially if he’s hungry. 😉


        • I’ll have to try microwaved potatoes once more. I quit trying after my first experience with my mother’s first microwave. If I remember correctly there was some metal spike you placed in each potato and still it didn’t get evenly cooked. Yuk! I hate uncooked potato.


  6. My dad loved potatoes, too. Wouldn’t eat rice, not even at gunpoint, I’m pretty sure. My sister asked him why he didn’t like rice when she was a little girl (before I was born). His reply? “Because that’s what poor people *have* to eat.” No rancor, no animosity, just the facts. He grew up on rice, my sister said. He was born in 1918. Yep, that explains that.

    Boiled broccoli is my ‘not even at gunpoint’ thing. But it’s the smell that does it for me, not any, well, it’s just the smell, and we’ll leave it at that.

    Dubious victories? Nope, can’t think of any dubious ones, but there’s still a biggie in the offing. After Friday, I begin my month-long Christmas break! And have I mentioned lately that I love my job?

    And almotht a third through with thirteen? Thweet!


    • Yeth, thirteen ith going pothitively thwimmingly! And hooray for Christmas break, you lucky guy!

      I’ll eat white rice if I have to, but as my dad used to say, “It’s some nothing.” I like short-grain brown rice, especially in brown-sugar-and-cinnamon rice pudding – yum! And wild rice is delicious when fried with celery, pine nuts, celery salt, pepper, and butter. But white rice? Meh.

      My only “not even at gunpoint” thing is black licorice. Fortunately it doesn’t get featured in too many meals. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. wow, I am a boring person. Best I have is the tile guy finishing setting tile for the bathroom remodel while I skipped work for the day. and I want to know what version of Scrabble you’re playing, not sure the one I have allows words like that. Now I’ll have to check…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My father also loved potatoes. In his autobiography he laments running out of potatoes by Christmas during the Nazi occupation because the Nazis took them all. He also often started his gravy by browning flour in a cast iron pan. I’m going out to dinner tonight and it is featuring latkes. I can’t decide which topping to use. Damn! I think I’m falling in love with potatoes again. Or at least renewing my vows.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Potatoes are so worth the commitment! 🙂 I love them in any form – perogies, gnocchi, latkes… yum! I’ve often wondered if my dad loved potatoes just because they were readily available and something he could reliably grow himself (maybe like your dad), or whether he just flat-out loved them they way I do. Mmmm… must go eat some hashbrowns now…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Happy Hanukkah everyone. I am sure that my ancestry must have had Jews in it somewhere. My father denied it, but how else can I explain how at home I feel with Jewish food, accents and the way klezmer music stops me in my tracks and stirs my soul? What a decision, jono51, sour cream or applesauce? Why not both?

      My love of potato’s doesn’t include the talent of making latkes that aren’t laden in oil. I love potato knishes, but the recipes I’ve seen seem beyond my culinary skills and patience levels. I once made a huge amount of strudel dough and made both apple and poppyseed strudel for my father. He moaned in happiness. I no longer am that ambitious a cook.

      I’m surprised you have crops to dig up, Diane. Didn’t you just move in? Sure, you told us about your fenced-in garden and the disrespectful wildlife, and all the improvements needed to the soil, but potatoes already? Impressive.

      I can understand most people’s lack of interest in plain, boring white rice, especially if they use the despicable quick cooking rice. Yuk. No wonder they hate rice! I love jasmine rice. As it cooks it releases a smell that means good food to me. It is Sooo good! It has the same effect as waking up to turkey stock simmering on the stove on holiday mornings. One of the best deserts I’ve ever had was jasmine rice cooked in coconut milk topped with mango purée. Simple, not too sweet but absolutely devine!

      Wild rice is incredible too. Most people never have a chance to experience naturally grown and harvested wild rice. Cultivated wild rice is all they can get if they can even get that.

      Thanks for the foody post. I think I’ll go cook some potatoes now.


      • Wow, your comment sent me off to the internet for a veritable treasure-trove of learning! Everything from Hanukkah history and traditions, to “best latke” recipes, to how to play driedel, to klezmer music. Thank you for that (and happy Hanukkah to you, too)! My mouth is absolutely watering for latkes now. Your jasmine-coconut-mango pudding sounds delicious, as well!

        We actually did put in a full garden this year – carrots, beans, peas, beets, kohl rabi, swiss chard, corn, zucchini, cucumbers, melons, potatoes, nasturtiums (edible and zingy), edamame, herbs… you name it. We were late getting everything in, and the drought was so fierce and the soil so poor that our yields weren’t great… except for the beans and edamame. I have enough of them frozen to last for the rest of the winter, hooray! We were still picking strawberries and raspberries in November, and we just dug the last of the carrots yesterday. Have I mentioned lately how much I love it here? (But it’s a PILE of work to carve gardens out of our gravel pit of a yard. We’ll tackle it again next year, and hopefully improve our soil a bit with our 18,000 pounds of manure…) 😉


        • Very impressive. I can’t imagine such a bounty grown at home. I really can’t fathom what you will manage to harvest with the new and improved soil once it’s been added. I can see you out there next summer soaking up the sun, feeling a delightful breeze, munching on peas listening to songbirds before getting on with the hoeing. All your senses maxed out in bliss.

          Just in case you or others don’t know what Jasmine rice is, it is not adding flowers to rice. It is a variety of rice essential to many dishes in Thai cooking. You can get it brown or white, and even white enriched. Other than white enriched, you wash the excess starch off before cooking and it is light and fluffy when done and is extremely aromatic. The rice pudding has only four ingredients- Jasmine rice, coconut milk, sugar and mango. The rice is either made on the stove or rice steamer and cooled, then topped like an ice cream Sunday with the mango purée. I don’t like overly sweet deserts and this one could be made to the level of sweetness you find appropriate.


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