Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cheese and ?

One man’s meat is another man’s poison. So goes the old saying. I am constantly reminded of this as I browse old cookery books. A lovely book with the full title of Our Viands: Whence they come and how they are cooked, with a bundle of old recipes from cookery books of the last century, by Ann Walbank Buckland, (London, 1893) notes the tradition in some parts of England of eating cheese with apple pie and with fruit cake. Nothing strange about that – I grew up in Yorkshire with that tradition.

The book also alludes to another tradition (although sadly, it does not note the locality), of serving cheese with toast and marmalade. I don’t know that tradition personally, but the idea is only a step away from serving quince paste on the cheese platter - isn’t it?

The final combination mentioned however, I cannot get my head around. Cheese floated on a cup of tea. It may be not too far from the Tibetan habit of serving a cuppa with yak butter floated on the top, but it is too far geographically to be relevant to an English tradition. If you know of such an idea, do please let us all know.

One might as well put cheese in the porridge!

Cheese Stirabout
One pound of oatmeal, three ounces of salt, half a pound of cheese cut up, two teaspoonfuls of mustard, two gallons of water; add your oatmeal with the hand, stir it all the time.

This wonderful idea comes from The Family Economist, (described as ‘A Penny Monthly Magazine, devoted to the moral, physical, and domestic improvement of the industrious classes’, published in London in 1848), in a batch of recipes from the Association for Improving the Conditions of the Labouring Classes in Dorsetshire.

Quotation for the Day.

He receives comfort like cold porridge.
William Shakespeare


Anonymous said...

I think I'll try a cut-down version of the cheese stirabout and report back; it sounds like a bracing breakfast, and fast if I use the microwave. Do you know what type of cheese would have been used?

Jenny Islander

The Old Foodie said...

Hi Jenny - this dish was clearly meant as a very practical and filling dish for the poor so I guess any stale ends of cheese would have been used. I rather like the idea of Parmesan - although it would hardly have been traditional!

Keith said...

Cheese and jam is good.
(an ex West Sussex lad).

The Old Foodie said...

Le Loup - any particular jam you like with cheese?