JACKET potatoes, the unofficial patron saint of burned spuds!

I wouldn’t dream of depriving anyone of the fun of poking them around in black ash with a big stick on Guy Fawkes night.

People can feel free to grimly chew through the tinfoil-charred remains of caveman cooking for this annual immolation.

Isn’t it punishment enough to eat it?

Ovens were invented for a good reason: jacket potatoes.

This ultimate winter convenience fuel is ever-popular with everyone.

It’s popular with hearty outdoor types who can knock up a tent and campfire in less than it takes to strike a match.

And it’s a fixture around many town centres on a Saturday afternoon where shoppers seek out the Victorian-themed jacket potato cart as a hand-warmer-cum portable snack on the go.

The clue to the perfect jacket potato lies in the name.

Any old spud can have a delectably fluffy interior: it’s not something which can be rushed, which presumably why most shop-bought ones are such damp squibs.

There is is at least one debate about the best potato for baking.

That billowing, cloud-like flesh is exclusive preserve to the flour-y varieties, such as the Maris Piper or King Edward.

Keep things simple and wash the muck off first, then roll them in sea salt while still wet for a perfect crunch and savoury skin.

But don’t be tempted to rub over a bit of fat in the manner of a Turkish bath, because it’s naughty to take advantage of the sunbeds and you’ll be a victim of angry exploding spuds.

It’s also true to say you need to cook your jacket potatoes on the wire rack of the oven, rather than a baking tray to allow air to circulate well.

But most of us do flash them in the microwave for a few minutes to cut down on cooking time if we’re in a hurry after work.

Today it’s hard to find a crackly, crispy, salty shell which is already seasoned, and which splits in a cloud of steam to reveal a snowy interior of impeccable fluffiness with a knob of butter.

Do you want your jacket potatoes tender and buttery, or so crisp you can break your tooth on them?

Is there any better filling than cheese and baked beans?

Has anyone ever managed a satisfactory spud on Bonfire Night?

I would love to hear from you!