You say Potato and I say Patata

You say Potato and I say Patata

Potato, potata, potato, potata – let’s call the whole thing off!!

I’m going to tell you a food story that I sometimes tell the folks on my Indian cookery course.

It goes back to a time of pre-marriage, before the kids to the early days when I first met my hubby Nick, then boyfriend. Back when I was a chef in London and refused to make Trifle (that’s another story) to a time when ‘internet’ was something you put the satsumas in.

And on this occasion, we ventured Up North to see his family and friends – Nick’s ascent as per usual went more Northern as we passed Dartford services. He was very excited as he told me that on ‘Saturday nite we’re off ta curry ouse and some pints with the boys, ya’ll lov it in Wakefield, its rite good laff’

During drinkies (don’t say that up North!) the boys told me “Gonna take ya for a rite good curry, in curry ouse, better than them soft Southern curry ouses”

I was excited especially since I’d spent the last few hours wandering around the pubs of Wake-up-field, watching my boyfriend’s friends drink pints of heady ale and talk about chatting up girls (but never actually doing it – that’s another story).

Finally, I was going to be eating one of the infamous Northern curry’s I’d heard so much about – – – – – –  sometime later we arrived at a 70’s Wimpy looking grotty café. We took our seats on a long bench and I brushed the crumbs on to the floor so I could sit down.

A big fellow plodded out and handed us some paper takeaway style menus and after ordering a pile of poppadum’s and chutneys – one lad said “and some WATA”

The waiter (I say waiter!!!) said “How much WATA” and the lad said – “WATA for everyone”

My excitement rose, what was ‘wata’ my imagination peeked – could it be a different kind of Bhajis, or a spiced pakora, maybe some Bombay mix style snack or a delicious bowl of Indian yummies – – “what is WATA” I asked the lads. An onslaught of images went through my head, colourful snacks, tasty sweet chillies, what could it be – hopefully something new to explore and taste, devour and copy in London.

A very puzzled look ensued all around the table, but I wasn’t noticing because my brain was on overdrive – it’s not often a chef discovers something new and when they do – it’s amazing, like the time I discovered Aoli made with milk or the time I had a peanut butter brittle with soft poached peaches or the holiday I discovered egg hoppers –

“What is WATA” I repeated, hardly containing my excitement.

“WATA” was the reply.

“Yes, what is WATA” I repeated again, assuming it must be very common up North and not familiar to a southerner because I was getting some funny looks.


“Yes, what is it – is it a starter or a dip – what is it”

“WATA” they all repeated with a quizzed look on their faces.

But by this time, I was getting jibbed “I’m not a bloody Northerner, I don’t know what it is – what the hell is WATA”

My boyfriend laughed and said – “WAR-ter, Water”


I’ve never been so disappointed in all my life – – – –