Bitch on the Blog

July 30, 2010


Filed under: Farming,Food,Happiness — bitchontheblog @ 19:23

Sweethearts, shuffling deckchairs on the Titanic does NOT pay.

Better keep rinsing pulses and chitting potatoes after today’s consortium’s inspiring offerings. Not that I didn’t enjoy Magpie’s history lesson – particularly the link between Columbus bringing potatoes to Europe in exchange for a spot of STD to America. You might call Christopher the father of today’s globalization. Also liked Conrad’s subtle, yet snide, remark about the Senate.

gaelikaa always likes to tell a story, ususally another chapter in the art of perfecting patience; from Grannymar, considering that she comes from a large family and spuds are an Irish staple, I expected something on the joys of peeling potatoes to stuff many mouths. Oddly, it was one of the jobs my mother used to think me most suitable for – neither did she believe in swivel peelers.

I am sure all your recipes are delicious (depending on what your mother’s cooking was like and your own culinary expectations since) though – if I may say so – there are more imaginative things one can do with both potatoes and beans other than cooking them. Still, I am not here to piss on anyone’s parade, or am I?

Sweet gaelikaa, in the dark of what my current predicament is, recently urged me to phone the Samaritans to save me from throwing myself off an imaginary cliff. I am afraid there is no Samaritan (other than Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Charles Saatchi, any of you or myself) who can rescue me in the short term. However,  for those of your friends who do weep, for clinical reasons, quietly into their daily bowl of lentil potage look no further than a book titled “Potatoes, NOT Prozac” (‘Prozac’ being the generic term for anti-depressants). Makes you think, Magpie, doesn’t it: First Americans export the mightily useful potato to the greater good of the rest of the world, only to then flood us with pharmaceuticals. One of my friends rattles with pills, keeping the whole of Bayer in profit. I have offered him many a baked potato – to no avail.

To add humility to my humiliation here is a potato about your very own Ursula (aged nine): At the time we lived in deepest country side (north of Hamburg); my best friend, a farmer’s daughter, invited me to help her and her family with a day’s potato harvest. Oh, the anticipation of  it! I was so excited. My mother doubted that donning my very best WHITE shirt for the occasion was a good choice of clothing.  And yes, my friend’s father did laugh out loud when he saw me turn up in my finest which did make me blush momentarily. Not for long: I so did enjoy pulling out the potatoes out of the dark sandy soil with my bare hands, filling buckets in the blazing sun, the fire  lit on the field in the evening. Never tasted a potato better. Neither was a white shirt dyed black more efficiently – ever. I didn’t care. It was a great day. Whether I’d made a fool of myself or not.


PS I still have magnificent gift to dress inappropriately



  1. Sweetheart, my prejudiced opinion of English cooking is that you boil the potatoes, boil the beans, put them in a casserole & voila—there’s your dish. Oh please do correct me.

    Comment by bikehikebabe — July 30, 2010 @ 21:06 | Reply

    • I once worked in an Hotel Kitchen (where I learned what the difference between a cook and a good cook is)The chef, Jerry by name, had a book on cooking potatoes. There were more than 200 recipes. Too many to be useful.

      The art of boiling potatoes is to get it just right. The same with Green beans. We English can appreciate the simple things in life. There is no greater pleasure that a plateful of new potatoes boiled in their skins together with some fresh runner beans (which plants I was once told are only used for decorative purposed over the pond.

      If one seeks to serve dried beans then they have often have to be boiled first…especially red Kidney beans which are poisonous apparently! Mixing the beans and potatoes might need some flavouring added hence the tomatoes and pepper in my recipe!

      Comment by magpie11 — July 30, 2010 @ 21:54 | Reply

      • I just bought a 25# sack of red Kidney beans. I heard they were the most nutritious dried bean, being so coloUrful. I didn’t know they were poisonous.

        Comment by bikehikebabe — July 31, 2010 @ 00:21 | Reply

        • Bike Hike Babe, dried kidney beans are only poisonous if not cooked properly. After the usual soaking bring them to a lively boil for about ten minutes (no lid on the pot), drain and rinse before simmering them in fresh water in the usual fashion. What the advice is if you use a pressure cooker I do not know since I don’t use pressure cookers (the hissing noise they make gets on my nerves).


          Comment by bitchontheblog — July 31, 2010 @ 03:47 | Reply

          • Got this from our cheerful Jean:

            More on poisonous beans:

            And done in the pressure cooker, I do know about (which). It sometimes explodes, & the beans hit the ceiling & everything else.

            Comment by bikehikebabe — July 31, 2010 @ 19:23 | Reply

    • Bike Hike Babe, I am most emphatically NOT English. Anyway, the English have been catching up fast in culinary terms over the last ten/fifteen years providing you choose the venue carefully and, if a restaurant, are prepared to pay the price.

      See my reply to Magpie.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — July 30, 2010 @ 23:07 | Reply

  2. Hello stranger!
    Good to see you back and on acerbic form! 😉

    The choice of topic was mine, if inadvertently…. and when it came to my recipe it was made up trying to combine some Nth American flavours and adding the greens for colour and with more than a nod to the Aboriginal people of the Americas…I did wonder about serving it with Bison steaks or Turkey twizzlers! (English school dinner reference)

    Still waiting for “that email”!

    Comment by magpie11 — July 30, 2010 @ 21:45 | Reply

    • Magpie, still waiting for that email? So am I (writing it, that is). Am currently in most awful habit of saddling horse all the wrong way: Concentrating on the urgent rather than the important. Try and explain that to one of your average time management apprentices.

      You are forgiven the choice of today’s topic considering mitigating circumstances: Strange ideas do come to people when working with soil – try a wormery for making compost, and who knows what the consortium will have to contemplate in months to come. Indigestion – if nothing else.

      Will not titillate with my five hundred ways of converting green and any other colour bean, accompanied by potato, from the palatable to the sublime. Yes, by my own admission, I am an awesome cook. Having absorbed all there is to absorb from what has been described as an “obscene number” of cookery books on my shelves – going back in time further than Larousse Gastronomique, skipping Nouvelle Cuisine, grounded by Elizabeth David and reaching not quite as far into the future as the frankly ridiculous offerings of El Bulli – I am now at a time in my life when I cook ‘freestyle’. Though will still lovingly refer back to the pages of those who taught me all there is to know.

      With you in the squeezing of a lemon,

      Comment by bitchontheblog — July 30, 2010 @ 23:02 | Reply

  3. Ursula! You seem to derive enjoyment from making your readers look like idiots. For your kind information, I wasn’t ‘urging’ you to ring anybody. I simply reminded you that in case you were suffering from depression (you refused to share your problem, while you cursed the darkness around you) that are were services available for people who need someone to share their predicament with anonymously.

    For your kind information, I’m not Little Red Riding Hood, all sweetness and light. I’m quite down to earth I can assure you and I don’t unnecessarily interfere in others’ lives. But I do believe in sharing relevant information. In the appropriate circumstances, of course. I’ll not do so here anymore unless specifically asked….

    Comment by gaelikaa — August 2, 2010 @ 08:34 | Reply

    • gaelikaa, I am surprised at your response: How am I making an idiot of you? I am afraid you have lost me here. Your recent reply to me showed touching concern. That you took a potshot in the dark which missed its target is purely because I am indeed nebulous about what’s plaguing me; as I indicated above a ‘talking/listening’ professional will not be able to help. How were you to know? I suppose that’s the good news. The bad news is … Sorry, mustn’t tease you.

      “Little Red Hiding Hood”? That you are not “all sweetness and light” I know since I have been reading both your blogs for some time. Not that there is anything wrong with being sweet and light. Better than tasteless and sunken (I am thinking ‘souffles’ here).

      I herewith, as requested, ask you ‘specifically’ to always say it as you see whatever I am wibbling on about, always be your kind and/or hardhitting self and, above all, to trust me. Big bad woolf or not: I am not out to get people’s goat (only their beard).


      Comment by bitchontheblog — August 2, 2010 @ 09:44 | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: