I had baked potato in its jacket last night, a big, white spud with crisped skin and lashings of fresh butter, freshly ground black pepper, and grated, mature cheddar cheese, descrumptious.
Of course, spuds are also great mashed, chipped, boiled whole, with chopped fresh mint sprinkled over them, and a good pat of fresh butter. Or, how about, par-boiled, fluffed and then roasted in the dripping from the roast beef or lamb. Then there's the Irish, potato farls, toasted and spread with fresh butter and jam or honey and served with a cup of steaming tea. My favourite is quick fried farls with mushrooms, crispy fried brown or black pudding, and turned over fried eggs, what a treat on the Sunday morning, but not too often, it's the occasionally that makes it a treat.
As well as being quick, easy, nutritional additions to any meal, spuds also have a wealth of folklore and superstition surrounding them.
A couple or three superstitions, in opposition, have formed around the right time to plant main-crop spuds. Some say Good Friday; the Devil has no power over the soil on the Holy day. But then, others say, not Good Friday; it's the Holy day, or it's all right providing no iron is used because of the iron nails used in Christ's crucifixion. In Oxfordshire, they really can't make up their minds, all forms are found, and also, Good Friday is fine, if the planter has already been to church, whether he may use iron isn't clear.
It as well to remember, folklore, tradition, superstition, old wife's tales are interesting, a bit of fun, they are not here as replacements for good health and beauty care. You are responsible for your own actions and safety, if you wish to try anything found in this Hub, or in links from it to any books or web sites; it is at your own risk.
Country women swear by potatoes to keep their skin supple and wrinkle free, either by eating a freshly grated, raw potato every day, or by cutting a potato in half and rubbing the exposed sides over their face. One old girl at Thornwood, Essex, ate a raw potato every day of her adult life; she still had beautiful skin in her 90s.
A compress is made from grated, raw potato, wrap in gauze and lay it over the face for half an hour; it is said to be good for removing wrinkles, and dark, saggy bags from under the eyes.
So, you've boiled the spuds, don’t strain them down the sink, save the water and allow it to cool; use it to rinse away, facial blemishes, frostbite or sunburn, or use it to massage away, aching or sprained muscles and joints.
All right, so they might do the trick, there may be chemical reactions at work here that improve things, who knows. However, there is also the silly list.
Rheumatism? No problem, stick a new spud (is that peeled and raw) in your pocket and walk around with it until it turns black, the rheumatism will be gone?!?
Oh, that's good for toothache too, try to arrange to have toothache when the rheumatism is bad and kill two birds with one stone.
Good one for getting rid of a sore throat, cut a slice off of a baked potato, wrap ii in gauze or an old stocking and tie it around your neck.