31 May 2020 – Whit Sunday

Today I’m a spud-happy woman. Amongst other things, it’s Whit Sunday, the seventh Sunday after Easter and the beginning of a week of Whitsuntide celebrations. And on Whit Sunday in Cambridgeshire, it was traditional to eat your first crop of home grown new potatoes. Which is what I’ve just done.

I started this potato lark way back at the beginning of the project when I planted some Accent first earlies on February’s Storm Moon (because it’s said planting on the full moon makes them grow better) with the hope they’d be ready for eating on Whit Sunday. Of course, back then I had envisioned a very different Whit Sunday, one complete with a gooseberry pie (another Cambridgeshire tradition) and lots of people eating everything. Well, in the words of the Rolling Stones, you can’t always get what you want. Unless, of course, what you want is copious amounts of carbohydrates (now you understand why I wanted to do that appetite spell yesterday). 

Anyhow, since February I’ve been Tattytracking the spuds every Sunday as they sprouted, mangled my blind, obliterated the light in my spare room, died back, and began to smell a little. Until this morning, when armed with an oversized serving fork (in lieu of a gardening fork), I began to dig. And when the fork failed, I got in there with my hands and started sifting. 

29 spuds later the grow bag had been thoroughly ransacked and I had a bulging bowl. Well, I would have done had I used a slightly smaller bowl. And so on to the eating. It’s too warm and I’m too Other Lifed up today to spare time to cook a full Sunday roast, so I steamed a clutch, boiled an egg and added both to a salad. 

Other than potato, I don’t really know what I expected my first moon-enhanced crop to taste like. Green cheese, maybe? They were fluffy with a good bite, the skin wasn’t chewy, angels didn’t dance on my tongue, but then neither did the Devil, so all in all, I reckon job done. The rest are now packed away in a dark place ready to return for all manner of devouring, and should the need arise, ready to be rubbed as a remedy. Plus, I am a little over-happy at seeing the sun return to my back bedroom. And I know it’s silly but I am also ridiculously proud of myself. In the words of Hannibal Smith, I love it when a plan comes together. 

Today is also a day for a bit of weatherlore:

Whitsunday bright and clear 
Will bring a fertile year

But also this:

Whitsuntide rain, blessing for wine.
Whitsunday wet, Christmas fat

Which I think in folklore speak is a win-win. 

Happy Whitsun!


Resources

Cooper, Q. and Sullivan, P. (1994) Maypoles, Martyrs & Mayhem: 366 Days of British Myths, Customs & Eccentricities, London, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Roud, S. (2006) The English Year: A Month-By-Month Guide To The Nation’s Customs and Festivals, From May Day to Mischief Night, London, Penguin Books

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