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

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Cottage Cookery

Nancy, Rose.
Nancy. WE are just after dining off the nice stew that you showed me how to make; and now can you tell me any thing else, for I am so light and happy, after rising out of that scrape, and so thankful to Tim, that I can do any thing now.
Rose. Well, Nancy, these pease that you think so little about, make a fine dish, when they are too old for boiling.
Nancy. I thought pease were never fit to eat after they were turning their colour.
Rose. Then I assure you they are. Take two quarts of old pease, and stew them in four quarts of water, on a slow fire, for two hours. Take them up then, and put to them a little pepper, salt, and onion; and also throw in bits of meat, either fresh or salt; if you have not meat, a little butter rolled in flour, or nice lard will do instead. Then stew half an hour longer. It is very good; and then you have it when the new potatoes are scarce; for you know one don't like to run over the ridge too fast, but to spare them to grow as long as one can. There is also another way of dressing pease and beans when they are old; first, by soaking in water for twenty four hours; then put them into a jug, or pitcher, which will hold them, and hold a bit of fat bacon too, or a pig's foot, taken out of the pickle, with the salt sticking to it. The meat is put at top, and a piece of greasy brown paper tied over the pitcher. At night, put it on the hearth, and turn a pot over it; or, put it in a pot, and leave in the fire, and hang it high over the fire. In the morning it is sufficiently done; and keep it on the hearth, hot, till dinner, when the meat will he tender, and the juice got among the pease and beans: then it is eat with spoons. The common gray pease, and the small horse beans, are what answer best for this dish; some put a few leeks, or onions cut small, and a little pepper, into the pitcher, before it is baked. And I find great use in my French beans, which you thought I was very conceited for sowing in my little garden. Instead of eating them as the quality do, pods and all, when they are young, and but an insipid dish, I let them grow till the beans are ripe, then shell them, and lay them by. They are very good and nourishing, particularly when you're nursing, boiled with a bit of butter, or lard, and some herbs chopped through it, or even without the herbs; and they are very nice under a bit of bacon, and will keep all the winter. I learned this of Mr. Browne's French cook.
Nancy. Ay, Rose, you are always ready and willing to learn, and managing and saving every thing; and yet you are not stingy, but you are a good warrant to share with a neighbour, or give a bit to a poor traveller.
Rose. It's by saving, and not wasting any thing, that poor people are able to share their bit with a friend, or with a poor fellow-creature. There's a fine way of making soup, and I believe next winter, when I can get a beef's head, I'll make it of a Saturday, and sell, to the neighbours. A pint of it and a bit of meat, will give a man his dinner.
Nancy. Do, Rose, dear, I am sure Tim will be glad to buy it; and then I need not be slaving myself of a Sunday, dressing his dinner.
Rose. I'll tell you how to make it, whether you will buy it or not. It's half a beef's head put down in about twenty gallons. of water, with half a stone of potatoes, a good handful of onions, and pepper, and salt with any garden stuff you like, or can get. This is boiled till about one third is boiled away, and then you have your comfortable soup. . •
Nancy. But where will you get a pot to boil so much in?
Rose. My big pot, that I boil my linen and my yarn in, I believe, will do; it will be good use to put it to in the winter. If I had not that, I could begin on a less quantity, in a smaller pot, till my soup would earn a big one for me". There's a way of dressing herrings too, that gives a little variety on a fast day, and makes them go farther.
Nancy. How is that?
Rose. Put three salt herrings in a pipkin, fill it with sliced potatoes, and a little water. Put it on a griddle, and turn a pot over it, and bake it that way; or, I believe, putting it on the warm hearth, when the ashes are swept out of the way, and covering it with the pot, will do. When I happen to have a bit of fresh meat, I put the bones into a dish, with some potatoes peeled, or the skin grated off, and put plenty of water, the potatoes take so much; I make a crust with hog's lard, for it makes it better than butter, put it over the bones and potatoes, bake it under the pot, and you can't think how nice a pie it is.

- Cottage dialogues among the Irish peasantry, with notes and a preface, M. Edgeworth,
Maria Edgeworth,1811,p.173.