Potatoes and Point

Angela Carter

  • The History and Social Influence of the Potato by Redcliffe Salaman, edited by J.G. Hawkes
    Cambridge, 729 pp, £35.00, November 1985, ISBN 0 521 07783 4

Eighty-odd years ago, when my father was a little boy, he would sometimes ask: ‘What’s for dinner?’ And my grandmother would reply: ‘Potatoes and point.’ That is, she would point to the hook in the rafters where the ham, if they’d had one, would have hung. Then they’d eat potatoes. This didn’t happen often: the family was relatively prosperous petit bourgeois and, besides, the coast of North-East Scotland, where they lived, had never become as totally dependent on the potato for nourishment as other communities in Europe, most notably Ireland. Even so, it happened.

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