Sunday, September 16, 2012

Potato Truck



Today's picture was taken in 1938 in Laurel, Mississippi. The picture shows a Potato truck delivering potatoes to the starch plant. The truck is being weighed to determine the amount of potatoes being delivered.

I had heard about the Potato Truck all my life buy had never seen one. There was an old expression, "What, do you think  I just fell off the Tater Truck?" The expression meant something like, "What, do you think I am stupid or something". Has anyone else heard that expression?

12 comments:

  1. Up here the phrase is "What, do you think I just fell off the turnip wagon (or truck)"? Turnips or potatoes were the poor man’s crops and being poor some people considered you uneducated, stupid, or easily tricked.

    It’s interesting that the potatoes in the truck photo are in boxes. Up here the potatoes would just fill the truck loose and then be taken off to plants to be processed. Of course come to think of it, back in the old days more was done by hand, so the crates would be more logical.

    Another thing is the old truck. Back in those days they were so ‘basic’ they could really take a beating and keep on tick’in. Even the motor, the average person could tinker with it on his own. But not today, too much electronics and computerization and gizmos and gadgets.

    It looks like the driver’s seat is on top of some box lids.

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    1. I remember it as "Fell of the turnip wagon/truck" also.

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  2. More was definitely done by hand in the old days. I remember in the early 50s, we used to have a school mid-term break which was locally known as "Blackberry Week" when most of the kids went "blackberrying", collecting the hedgeside fruit for their mothers to turn it into jam, jelly and blackberry pies.
    However, when you grew a little bit older and stronger, say round about 12 - 14 years old, you went out to one of the local farms very early in the morning and carrying your own bucket. If the farmer thought you strong enough, and your bucket was of the right size, he would hire you for the day to follow the tractor which was turning up the rows of potatoes. Every single one was picked by hand, put into your bucket then carried over to a cart which was the collection point. The farmer or his foreman kept a tallybook with the number of buckets you had carried and you were paid up at the end of the day and also allowed to carry a bucket of potatoes back home.
    Backbreaking work for kids but we seemed to get through though a few dropped out as the week progressed. Tuesday seemed the hardest day after the first day's constant bending. Most of the money was handed over to mother though we were allowed to keep a little back as "pocket money". Jobs like that were the only source of pocket money in those very lean days.

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    1. very interesting! thanks for sharing. My dad would have worked as hard as you, picking up potatoes . . . but I was of the next generation and had an easier lot. But I'm still a worker today!

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  3. PJM, you asked yesterday favourite ways of serving potatoes. I love "Stovie tatties" (potatoes cooked on the stove) but I don't have them very often these days. They were a regular Monday dish when mother was busy all day with the laundry. They could be put on the stove in the morning and left to their own devices until evening.

    Stovie tatties recipe
    Peeled, diced potatoes, chopped onions, beef dripping from the Sunday joint, salt and pepper, and a little water (or gravy if you had any left from the roast). If really turning to luxury, a little cold, chopped beef from the ends of the join were added.
    Everything was put into a huge pan with a very tight lid over a very low heat, probably the equivalent of today's crockpot. After all day cooking they resembled a kind of dry hash and were served along with some oatcakes. (Oatmeal, shortening, salt, water, mixed to a paste, rolled out, cut into circles and cooked on a cast iron flat griddle.

    Oh boy! I fancy some now, but I have no roast beef dripping to hand.

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  4. That is one huge thermometer on the wall of the scale house. I suppose to make it easy for the driver to read from the truck seat.

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  5. A human can survive very healthily on a diet of potatoes supplemented with milk or butter. It is a major food source around the world. I wonder….do they grow potatoes in the villages Ms M worked in?

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    1. Yes, they grow potatoes where the lovely Ms. EAM works in Africa. I have had them, and they are actually very, very good. Better than any I have had here. They are smaller, more irregular in shape, and exploding with flavor.

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  6. When I would get dressed in some outlandish outfit (little girls have a strange sense of fashion, sometimes), my grandmother would tell me I looked as if I just got off the pickle boat.

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  7. While living in Pendleton, Oregon with my young sons, we had a 1972 Ford LTD, and we would follow the potato trucks out of the fields. Dirt roads, both boys in the back seat with the doors open. Going about 2 mph they would hop out and grab the potatoes that would fall off of the overloaded potato truck, toss them into the back seat and watch for the next one to fall. We
    would come home with a backseat full of potatoes.
    I never knew that potatoes could grow to be so big. We scored a lot of potatoes that year, a lot of them at least as big as my forearm.

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  8. 1972 Ford LTD, and we would follow the potato trucks out of the fields....................

    LOL, we still do the same thing here during the turnip harvest. Grab the ones that fall off the wagon. Needless to say......I like turnip....chopped up and cooked...then add butter.....right beside a turkey and dressing. Damn!.....now I'm hungry!

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  9. Oh, yes. I heard that expression from the time I was very small growing up in New England. My grandfather and all my uncles used it in one form or another based upon where they lived and worked. But it always had the same form, just fell off the potato/spud/carrot/'cumber/whatever wagon/truck/train/car.

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