St David’s Day can feel like “Wales Day”, with children in Welsh Lady costumes and rugby shirts and woolen caps making daffodil crafts in school, shops trying to sell Welsh Cakes and Bara Brith, and plastic dragons made in China roaring all over the retail sector. Yet the kitsch doesn’t feel sarcastic, or shallow, but rather an affectionate nod to the obvious signs of Welsh identity. People dress their kids up as Welsh as they dressed up as Welsh and back and back, and in fact the early Welsh Ladies themselves were dressing up as Welsh Ladies as a way to go to market. Much that is specific to Wales is invisible and elusive– a quality of heart and poetry and singing and performance and community. It’s hard to specify, this thing called “Welsh”– within it there’s the warm cuddliness of a cwtch combined with the hard-scrabble get-on-with-life of rugged hill people, and miners. At least that’s how I see it after seven years here. Any Welsh friends are welcome to correct me! Read the rest of this entry »
What a beautiful sight to behold, these small February leeks grown locally by our friend Emma at Ash and Elm. Wear one into battle with the Saxons, hold it to your heart to profess love, make a crown with daffodils and honor St David, Patron Saint 0f Wales, whose feast day is Sunday and I am making different treats– tune in again soon for a developing situation.
Yesterday it was a gratin, as I’ve been thinking lately about ways to layer and bake vegetables in the oven
— economical, healthful, easy vegetable-focused family food I want to make more often. These leeks looked so perfect for that, beckoning as they did to the Caerfai Caerphilly, a really fresh, grassy, un-pasteurised, organic traditional cheese from St David’s in Pembrokeshire– the very place of this important Welsh saint. Read the rest of this entry »
.…in which Kitchencounterculture explores local food, locavorism, veganism, climate impacts of diet, and A MASSIVE LIST OF RABBIT RECIPES from a really great collection of cookbooks…
In my freezer are two rabbits, which a local man, H, the getting-elderly but still a-hunting brother of a friend, had in his freezer. For £3 each it was hardly a sale but rather an exchange. “Cook it like a chicken,” he advised, and told me he’d cut it in seven pieces: two back legs, 2 front legs, two middle bits and a “bonnet” (the ribs). He recommended I “casserole” it: fry the pieces in a pan with carrots and onions, then tip it in a roasting tin with gravy, or wine, or beer.
My friend, H’s brother P, said H would have hung it for a few hours after bringing it home (probably this time with a ferret not a rifle — I didn’t think to ask but will, and will update here), then gutted it, then hung it again for a few days before skinning and putting it into parts. These are men who’s childhoods would have been 70 years ago. H remembers his mother Sybyl roasting rabbit very plainly, but she would never eat anything wild herself, though duck was also on the menu for these country children of mid-Wales back then.
Read the rest of this entry »