Friday, 15 July 2011

I just don’t understand....


I have been living in this fair country for going on 10 ½ years and in all that time there is one thing I can’t quite understand. I would even go as far as to say it’s a downright bloody mystery to me. That mystery is the jacket (or baked, depending on side of the Atlantic you are on), potato!

In all seriousness I just don’t get whey they are everywhere, doesn’t matter what eating establishment you are in there is bound to be a jacket potato on the menu somewhere. Okay, perhaps Jamie or Gordon don't have them in their restaurants. I have even been aboard and see baked potato stands in English touristy hotspots. As if you can’t leave old Blighty for a week or so without getting your potato fix.

Now I am not a potato hater, in fact I am quite partial to a spud or two and back in NZ we do have baked potatoes, mainly as a meal accompaniment (with just butter on top) or done on the coals of a BBQ. But what I really don't understand is the allure of a potato, baked to within an inch of its life, covered in a variety of toppings, pawn cocktail anyone? I just don’t get it. I can count on one hand, no actually two fingers the number of baked potatoes I have had in my time here. What did I think of them, well they were okay but it wasn’t a culinary masterpiece or even a delight. While working it was a much debated topic between myself and a good friend T, who is a bit of a foodie. While she could see it merits as a healthy lunch option I couldn’t, so would try all I could to negate the argument, “baked potato, might as well get chips!”

So to try and find why the fascination for the baked potato I went over to the ever reliable Wiki and apparently...

“The baked potato has been popular in the UK for many years. In the mid-19th century, jacket potatoes were sold on the streets by hawkers during the autumn and winter months. In London, it was estimated that some 10 tons of baked potatoes were sold each day by this method. Common jacket potato fillings (or "toppings") in the United Kingdom include cheese & beans, tuna mayonnaise, chili con carne and chicken & bacon.
Guy Fawkes Night was a traditional time to eat baked potatoes, often baked in the glowing embers of a bonfire, however this is no longer common and they are eaten at any time of the year.  As part of the upsurge for healthier fast food, the baked potato has again taken to the streets of the UK both in mobile units and restaurants.”

So perhaps a culinary delight it is not supposed to be. Perhaps it is just one of those crazy English traditions that I will never quite understand!

13 comments:

Chatty Baby said...

Daddy's with you, Frankie. But Mummy loves a good baked potato! Not overdone, but lots of yummy melting butter...

Frankie P said...

Hey CB, thanks for stopping by but i still can't understand it. good to know your daddy is with me on this...

Rachel Faith said...

I was pretty perplexed by the jacket potato when I first arrived on these fair shores. I had forgotten about it up to now, but since you mention it...why, why, why???

Oh well, some things we will never understand.

Have just tagged you in a post by the way, apologies (I promise it doesn't involve potatoes). http://www.manana-mama.com/2011/07/counting-hatchlings.html

Fox in the City said...

Okay, a baked potato with tuna mayo sounds rather disturbing to me . . . and I will happily eat french fries covered with cheese and gravy.

I do enjoy a nice baked potato as a side dish every once in a while but I had no idea it was such a hot potato in the UK!
Jenn

Smudgerella said...

Am with you, can't stand them xx

Stigmum said...

When I lived in Japan my no 1 food fantasy was baked potato with chilli, sour cream and cheese. Oh my, I missed England for that. I'm reading your post wondering have I actually eaten one with my recurring fantasy topping since I returned?
No!
My son loves them, at one point eating them every day at school until I told him to eat something else occasionally.
I will very occasionally have one (still can't work out how to make them in the microwave) with half a tub of melted butter and some ground pepper. That's very nice.
I haven't got to the bottom of the mystery have I, nor helped your understanding one little bit...?!

Frankie P said...

Thanks for all your comments ladies i ma glad i am not the only one perplexed by it all..

Stigmum, you have make it even worst, everyday!!!

Reluctant Housedad said...

I'm with you on this. The baked potato craze is lost on me. Just a great big hunk of stodge. But as I said on a Tweet, they have their uses. Baked them til their skins are crispy, then scoop out the insides and mix with butter, salt and pepper for the best mash you'll ever taste. It has almost a smokiness to it. Then save the skins for another day. Re-heat them in a high oven, and use to scoop up dips like salsa, cream cheese and soured cream.

Frankie P said...

Arrh, Keith i thought you would be able to help me on this, but i knew i could rely on you for a recipe.. i do like potatoe skins with salsa... Yum...

mum2babyinsomniac said...

I think the reason they are on every menu is because they make such a good profit! It is so cheap to make a jacket potato but some places sell them for more than £5!! I do love a good jacket potato with cheese and beans though!

Suzy Turner said...

Oh the humble jacket spud... how I miss it!
Although I'm British, I've lived in Portugal since I was ten (nearly 26 years!) and here the only place you can get a good ol baked potato is in an English Pub and English Pub Grub here is not at all like the good old English Pub Grub back in Ol Blighty!
I remember loving baked potatoes on Guy Fawkes Night, baked over an open fire. They were so crispy (read burnt to a crisp!) but so soft and delicious inside.... mmmmm
Suzy
http://suzyturner.blogspot.com

I'm So Fancy said...

Ok I was sent over by mymummydum and then realized you have a box saying "Fancy subscribing." I assume you are talking to me? So I did. And I love a potato. But I agree, the whole jacket thing goes too far over on this side of the pond...

Frankie P said...

Hello I'm So fancy, T

Thanks for your comments and stopping by.. You look like fun to follow so i have...