British Studies Web Pages
Myths, Legends, Fantasy...
Fillet of a fenny snake
All Three witches:
Double, double toil and trouble
The other witches add ingredients such as ‘tooth of wolf’, ‘scale
of dragon’, and ‘baboon’s blood.’ Visitors to Scotland will be pleased
to hear that Scottish cuisine has improved a lot since then.
Myths and legends too are full of references to food. In Irish mythology
there were nuts of knowledge, probably hazel nuts. Some of these
nuts found there way into the Shannon river and were eaten by a salmon
which was then caught and cooked by Finn MacCunaill who burnt his thumb
on the grilling fish. On sucking his thumb the wisdom of the nuts
was transferred to one of his teeth, which became his tooth of knowledge
which allowed him to predict the truthfulness of any person and helped
him to become the most celebrated of Irish mythical heroes.
An Other World
Fruit, especially apples, have played a role in many legends. Tradition has it that the serpent in the Garden of Eden gave Eve the apple that caused man’s fall, while in Norse mythology Iduna guarded the sacred apples of youth that kept the gods forever young.
Fairy tales contain many references to food. Snow White was given a poisoned apple by her wicked step-mother. The witches’ house in Hansel and Gretel was made of delicious sweets and Goldilocks tried three bowls of porridge before finding one that she liked.
Porridge is a food traditional to Scotland. No Scot worth his salt would be seen setting out on a cold Scottish morning without his bowl of Scots oats. Not for the hardy Scots a bowl of sweetened porridge such as baby bear and Goldilocks would have liked. The true Scotsman and Scotswoman would only eat Papa Bear’s porridge, that is one flavoured with salt. Here is a traditional Scottish porridge which will warm the cockles of your heart on any cold and misty morn.
Papa Bear’s Scottish Porridge Recipe
Take a double saucepan and fill the bottom saucepan with water
Another potent dish is ‘nail soup’. The story behind the invention
of this mineral-rich soup is as follows.
Once upon a time there was a very hungry gypsy who was sitting by his boiling pot of water. Along came a woman who asked what he was doing. He replied he was cooking nail soup. This intrigued the woman who asked if she could try it. He said certainly if she could help him add some seasoning to the dish and he would supply the main ingredient. First, he asked for some diced potatoes, then some sliced assorted vegetables, a leg of mutton, some herbs and some seasoning. All these the woman supplied before he added the magic staple, an old rusty nail. All these were boiled up and left to simmer. Thus the gypsy got a good meal for the price of an nail.
by Agnieszka Weinberg from £ódŸ
Perhaps one of the nicer sweets of the witch’s house was gingerbread. Gingerbread is also an ingredient of the story about the Gingerbread Man. Here is Agnieszka Weinberg’s recipe for traditional gingerbread.
Traditional Polish Gingerbread
1 glass of sugar and 1 glass of honey
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