Let us explain something before beginning this article; there are different sayings and idioms everywhere, and the Italian language is full of colorful ways of expressing just about anything. Let’s take the potato for example – in many other countries it is just a spud, a tasty and popular vegetable. It is certainly that in Italy too, but any Italian knows that the word has a frequently used cheeky double meaning, which can be translated as…. ahemm….oh dear I’m blushing……the female private part, but more generically, pretty women. The femminists amongst you will not be overly pleased, but I take no responsability!!
Ok, having said that, we can now go on to talk about the “Festa della Patata” – the potato festival, which took place on the 26th of August at Boschetto, a small town near Bedonia. The purpose of the event was to enhance and exploit the many local varieties of potatoes available in our territory, taking advantage of their great versatility in order to offer a tempting menu to participants; “baciocca” and “torta di patate” – both types of savoury potato cake, “tortelli di patate” – delicious potato stuffed pasta, new potatoes baked whole in their skins under scorching ashes, and many other dishes. This festival is relatively new, since there have been few editions up until now, but judging by the influx of people each year, it will keep going for a long while yet. So many people want to take part in the fun that it has become very advisable to book a table ahead of time, just in case you get left out in the rain!!
So, there is everyone digging in to a tasty potato meal and enjoying it – you might ask yourself – when does the cheeky part come in?! And come in it did, after dinner, when people sauntered outside and sat at the tables around the dance floor for a coffee or drink. A promising evening was lying ahead, two “beauty” (!!!) pageants were about to begin, the first not particularly serious, and the second – well just forget it!
In the first round, we were shown “potatoes” in every nuance – the “rustic potato” – a sexy girlie lumberjack sculpting a log into a porcino mushroom with a chain saw which wasn’t even running…. the two old old crones togged up with knitted shawls, grey wigs and glasses interpreting “fried potatoes” since in Italian, when one is fried (fritto), he’s had it! Then there was the “frozen potato” – wrapped up well enough to weather the artic storms; the “red potatoes” – two young ladies in red from head to toe; the “classic potato” – an elegant signora in a little black dress with pearls and high heels. And last but not least in this weird parade – the “scraped potato” (sbucciata) – head bandaged, band aids all over her legs and arm in a sling!! That was some scrape!
Then came the hilarious second round in which the contestants were all men dressed up as very provocative ladies, and “Tatiana”, last year’s winner, was presiding over the jury. There were sexy nurses, street walkers, Lolita-like schoolgirls…..all outrageously funny! The “ladies” paraded around the dance floor with flirtatious glances and exagerated winks at the eldest men, trying their best not to fall off their heels…..the contest was won by the tantalizing nurse – although I’m not sure that any of the men present at the festa would have fancied a check- up with HER!!!!
Once the laughing and applauses died down, it was over to the Dj, who entertained the younger set with his oontz-oontz music, as they call it here. We old fogies, who at that point were feeling rather like mashed potatoes, slithered off and left them to it!