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

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Mysteries of Colcannon

Sometimes the quest for roots locates multiple rootlets. Colcannon is
one of those. Just so it has something to do with potatoes and
greens...a good example of local and personal variation in which folks
often speak of as a unified foodway. So there are choices...

At dinner they had a dish, which we believe is, like the Boxty,
peculiarly Irish in its composition: we mean what is called stjilk. This
consists of potatoes and beans, pounded up together in such a manner
that the beans are not broken, and on this account the potatoes are well
champed before the beans are put into them. This is dished in a large
bowl, and a hole made in the middle of it, into which a miscaun or roll
of butter is thrust, and then covered up until it is melted. After this,
every one takes a spoon and digs away with the utmost rigour, dipping
every morsel into the well of butter in the middle, before he puts it
into his mouth. Indeed, from the strong competition which goes forward,
and the rapid motion of each right hand, no spectator could be mistaken
in ascribing the motive of their proceedings to the principle of the old
proverb, devil take the hindmost. Sthilk differs from another dish made
of potatoes in much the same way, called colcannon. If there were beans,
for instance, in colcannon, it would be sthilk. This practice of many
persons eating out of the same dish, though Irish, and not cleanly, is
of very old antiquity. Christ himself mentions it at the Last Supper.
Let us hope, however, that, like the old custom which once prevailed in
Ireland, of several persons drinking at meals out of the same mether,
the usage we speak of will soon be replaced by one of more cleanliness
and individual comfort.--From: The Irish Penny Journal, 1841.

Boil separately an equal amount of potatoes and
of fresh cabbage ; about half the amount of onions.
Mash all very finely, mix in a little butter or drip-
ping, with salt and pepper, put in a buttered bowl,
and bake, well covered up. Serve very hot.
-May Byron's Vegetable Book, May Clarissa Gillikngton Byron,k 1916

colcannon night : almost universal in St. Johns, Nfld., for Hallowe'en. [
The name is used by those who eat colcannon on that night Others speak
of it a» " snap-apple night." The term Hallowe'en is not generally
used.]-Dialect Notes.,The American Dialect Society, 1896.

Mix in about equal proportions some well-
mashed potatoes and some young sprouts, or greens
of any kind, first boiled till quite tender and chopped
up. Mash up all thoroughly together ; add a seasoning
of pepper and salt, a small bit of butter, and
a spoonful or two of cream or milk ; put a raw
onion in the middle of all, and stir over a clear
fire till very hot and sufficiently dry to be moulded
and turned out. The onion must be taken out
before the dish is served.
Turnips and carrots are often chopped up with
the greens and potatoes.
This can also be made with parsnips and
Colcannon. (Another way. )
Boil and mash greens, cabbage, carrots, turnips,
a shred onion with mashed potatoes — half the quantity
should consist of the latter ; add two eggs,
pepper and salt, and a good piece of butter ; put
it into a plain mould or pudding-basin, boil for an
hour, and turn out.-Dressed Vegetables a la Mode.De Salis,Hariet,Anne, 1888

9. Colcannon.—Boil potatoes and greens, or
spinage, separately; mash the potatoes, squeeze
the greens dry, chop them quite fine, and mix
them with the potatoes with a little butter, pepper
and salt; put it into a mould, greasing it well first;
let it slant! in a hot oven for ten minutes.-Mackenzie's Five Thousand
Receipts:In All the Useful and Domestic Arts.,Colin Mackenzie, 1854

Colcannon. — (No. 108*.)
Boil Potatoes and Greens, or Spinage — separately —
Mash the Potatoes — squeeze the Greens dry,
chop them quite fine, and mix them with the Potatoes
with a little butter, pepper and salt — put it into a
mould, greasing it well first; let it stand in a hot oven
for ten minutes. ,-From: The Cook's Oracle:Containing Receipts for Plain
Cookery.,William Kitchiner, 1822.

It is not common in the West to see a field of
turnips, and a field of turnips is an object of great
attraction to the peasant. The women, especially,
are very fond of them; and, all the world over, what
the women require the men must endeavour to procure.
The chief use that is made of this vegetable
is in the manufacture of colquit, or colcannon, otherwise
turnips, or cabbage, mashed up with potatoes—
a cottage delicacy, for the attainment of which many hundred felonies
have been committed;-From: Letters from the Irish Highlands.,J. Murray,

Colcannon.—Provide for this : One pound of cold
boiled potatoes, one pound of cold boiled turnip, one
ounce of butter, one tablespoonful of bread crumbs, one
saltspoonful of salt, one saltspoonful of pepper.
The bread crumbs must first be put upon a tin or
plate, and into the oven and browned to a light brown.
Grease slightly a plain mould holding about three pints,
and sprinkle around the sides and over the bottom of this,
the browned bread crumbs. Put into a bowl the potato
and with it the turnip, which must first be pressed down
and drained of any water that it may have gathered in
standing to cool. Mix these thoroughly together and season
them with the pepper and salt, adding also the butter,
and when all is stirred together, pack the mixture into the
mould, pressing it down with the blade of a knife, place
the mould in a moderate oven where it must remain until
its contents be thoroughly heated, then turn the form
carefully out into a vegetable dish and serve steaming hot.
-From:The Art of Cooking:A Series of Practical Lessons,Matilda Lees,
Dods, 1880.a

COLCANNON.—This popular Irish dish is usually made with cabbages and
potatoes, but cauliflower will make a more delicate dish. Take half as
much cauliflower as potato, both of which must have been boiled
previously and completely cooled. Chop them separately and very "fine.
Put a little milk and butter into a saucepan, and when boiling hot, turn
in the potatoes and cauliflower well mixed together. Place a flat tin or
dish over them, and let them warm through. Then remove the cover, and
add salt and pepper to the taste ;ake the dish boiling hot, and serve.
Another way is to prepare it with strips of salt pork. Cut the pork into
strips an inch long and as narrow as possible, and fry it to a crisped
brown ; then turn in the chopped cauliflower and potatoes, and mix well
with the pork strip and fat. Heat very hot, and serve on a platter. It
is a delicious dish ; and a little vinegar ia considered an improvement
to it.-From: To--day: The Popular Illustrated Magazine, Dio Lewis, 1872.

COLCANNON. How to Buy. — Purchase potatoes and greens or cabbage, in the
proportion of one-third greens to two-thirds of potatoes — usually,
however, col- cannon is prepared from cold vegetables. This is a good,
economical, and nourishing dish if well prepared, otherwise it is
indigestible and disagreeable. How to Cook.—Boil and then mash the
potatoes with salt and pepper; boil the greens or cabbage very tender,
and press very dry, and chop it finely; mix both together, and season to
taste with pepper, salt, and nutmeg; moisten with a little gravy; cover
with bread-crumbs, and on them lay either little bits of butter or
congealed butter; sprinkle a little fine salt over, and brown with a
salamander, or in the oven; this is the best mode, though it is
frequently fried in fat left in the pan from bacon rashers that have
been fried to serve with it ; in this way it is very apt to be strong.
How to Serve.-—Hot and quite plain, or garnished with fried bacon.
Note.—If cold vegetables are used, press the potatoes through a
colander, and chop the cabbage very fine, taking care it is not watery.-
From: Handbook of domestic cookery., Handbook, 1882.