The Place for real traditions.Irish Culture begins in prehistory. First was a paleolithic mindset-based on hunting. The spirits of animals aid in this. Groups had totems- birds, boar,for identity. Next came a Neolithic awareness- crops, agriculture,farm animals. Villages and lineages. Multiple gods became single gods with many powers. Chieftains by birth ruled. Next the Bronze age with rule by heroes. We got cookbooks and recipes left the mind. How do we know what to do? That's our purpose.

Irish Chieftain's feast

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

How much more basic can you get- Oatcakes

Take oats, mix them in water and let it dry out. Quite basic. Oatcakes
are pan Celtic-wherever oats were found. In Scottish farm houses in the
19th century left over oat porridge was placed into a wooden drawer. There it dried out and was sliced and heated to crisp. Surely the oat cake is ancient and a root food.

I returned on foot to the little cabin upon the barren hillock where we had left our cars, and as a hard shower of.hail was falling over the dark plain and among the old ruins, I was compelled, for the sake of shelter, to take a closer inspection of the interior of this cabin. This gave me an opportunity of watching the preparation of those oat-cakes which play so important u part in the national cookery both of Ireland and Scotland, and which are even found carved upon their monuments, as I have above described, These far-famed cakes are made of oats very roughly ground. The coarse flour is mixed with water, into a thick gritty paste, and spread upon a warmed iron plate. This round j iron plate, which is found in the poorest Irish, cabins, is warmed by a handful of lighted straw placed underneath it, and in a few moments the cooking process is over, the paste being taken off in the shape of a hard, thin, dry biscuit. This paste is dignified by the name of cake, and is eaten daily by the poor Scotch and Irish. These cakes are not much more palatable than a mixture of flour and water, made dry and hard, would be, yet many people are passionately fond of them. The Irish generally assure the stranger, when they show him their oat-cakes, that these are a particularly wholesome, nourishing, nndstrengtheningkindof food, which can be true only when they are compared with the watery, tasteless, and meager potatoes upon which the Irish have to subsist. The English, generally very curious about our black bread, and to whom the word " black" seems to convey a kind of horror,* often repeat that with them people would never think of giving such a mess to any but horses ; forgetting that with us nobody would think of giving oats to any but horses, and forgetting how many millions of hungry poor there are in their empire who would be most thankful for this despised black bread, and whom it would certainly nourish much better than oat- paste which they call cake, and the nourishing qualities of which they praise so highly.-

From: Johann Georg Kohl , 1844, Ireland: Dublin, the Shannon, Limerick, Cork, and the Kilkenny Races

Oats as it turns out are also healthy.
Lower your fats! Here is how to connect with the ancient oaten past.


Take a quantity of rolled or other oats. (I ground my oats till it
filled a standard quisinart sized food processor bowl after grinding)

Place in food processor- run on high adding oats slowly till a powdery
flour is obtained. As fine as you can get it without too much work.

Add in a teaspoon of salt- to taste try and see...

If you don't' mind fat add in a few tablespoons of bacon fat. If you
don't mind oil add in a few tablespoons of some form of oil- I found
olive oil worked. So be healthy....

Once you grind the flour add in about a cup of whole oats.

Place flour mixture in electric mixer- a strong one.

Use the flat paddle blade.

Slowly add cold water till it thickens to a stiff dough but not too
hard. The paddle should still turn well enough. Switch paddle to dough
hook and run on high for about two minutes.

Let dough sit for about three hours.

The dough will now be hard- don't worry break it into small bits and
pout back into your mixer. Add more cold water and beat with paddle
blade till you have a medium stiff mixture. The paddle turns but does
not strain.

Once dough is re-constituted roll out to thickness of choice- I like
about 1/8 inch. Thinner ones tend to scorch and cook too fast. Toss oat
flour and whole oats on the board to flour it so that some oats get
stuck to the surface of the dough- not many just the occasional one or
several per oatie....

Using a glass or cutter cut out rounds of the dough.

Place the rounds on a dry cookie sheet and bake at low heat- 275-300.
Basically all you are doing is drying them out so if you want to get it
done quicker simply raise the temp but keep an eye on them. They are
done when between crisp and slightly chewy. Some like them totally
crisp. Beware of scorching. Watch carefully even when on low heat.

Place hot oaties into a metal tin with tight lid right out of oven. This
helps redistribute the heat and even out the cooking.

Serve with home made butter (take heavy whipping cream beat through
whipped cream stage (add salt if you wish-to taste-) till butter
separates, strain out curds compress and cool... The oaties are great
with cheese. A dram of whiskey should not be refused. The texture should
not be too fine the occasional whole oat should be evident but not too many.

Now you have something that a Bronze Age Celt would recognize!