It is time for me to finish off the series on the list of the top ten forgotten British foods, as decided by a competition run in 2006 by the Guild of Fine Food Retailers. I have dragged the series out too long, and anyway, I need a quick easy story today as the state of Queensland is in a state of storm and flood alert, and there are already many homes without power and I don’t want to get caught mid-post!
The list of previous posts, with links, is at the end of this story.
There are three dishes left on the list – Fife Brooth, [Broth] Rabbit with Prunes, and Sixteenth Century Pancakes. We will take the soup today. I have been unable to find out what is unique about the soup from Fife, but perhaps one of you will be able to let us know. There do not appear to be any recipes for it in old cookery books. It must surely be a form of Scotch Barley Broth? In the absence of a definitive Fife Broth, the following recipe will have to do, in the interests of completing this series! The next couple of days, the storm gods and the research muses permitting, we will finish the list.
From The Magazine of Domestic Economy, Vol.6 (1841) a simple sustaining soup, made the same way for centuries past and no doubt centuries to come. Just the thing for riding out some very wet and wild weather.
Scotch Barley Broth.
Boil a teacupful of Scotch barley or pearl barley in a gallon of water for half an hour, then add three pounds of lean beef or neck of mutton, some sliced onions, carrots, and turnips, a little salt, and a pint of green peas, if in season. Boil gently for two hours or more in a covered kettle
I understand that the correct way to serve Scotch Barley Soup is with oat cakes.
6. Rabbit with Prunes
7. Fife Brooth
8. Roman Pie
9. 16th C Pancakes
My mother used to make something she called Scotch Broth. It had barley in it and (probably leftover) beef.
I can't remember any other ingredients, unfortunately, but I'm willing to bet onion and maybe carrots.
I have six brothers and sisters and my mother was very creative with leftovers. She was from Texas but her Southern cooking style had been affected by her Wisconsin Irish in-laws, as well as the other wives she met in student housing while my father was getting his degree.
Hello again, Shay. Your mother was obviously a very resourceful and creative cook. Do you have any of her recipe cards or notes?
I suppose you've seen recipes for "bigos" but in case not - Polish stew usually made end of winter to use up old sausage odds and ends, sauerkraut, dried mushrooms, etc - all the stuff that would be getting a bit on the nose by spring - and PRUNES. I've made bigos and Austrian hunter's stew quite often and it's always delicious.
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