...there's both eatin' and drinkin' in it

Category: History (Page 4 of 6)

A Note From Home

Dear Claire,

Can it be a year since you left already? I hope Canada is treating you well and that your Barry’s tea supplies are holding up.

While the news reports hereabouts are generally doomy and gloomy, at least they aren’t a kind of World War Two bad, in which case we’d be looking for you to send your tea back to us!

The Da – your Granda – who, as a young army cadet, was responsible for doling out rations during WW2, tells me that the tea allowance was 3/28th of an ounce per person per day – which I reckon is about a teabag’s worth. With rations like that, you’d be hanging out for the emigrant relations to do the needful and send tea home (like Grannie, who, according to this custom’s declaration, was sent 10lb of tea in 1942 by a cousin who had emigrated to New York).

Customs Declaration Front

Declaration for 10lb of tea, sent in 1942 to my Dad's mother from her cousin in New York

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Spud Sunday: Soup For Thought


I hope so, because I’ve made some soup and it’s got your name written all over it.

In fact there’s enough to feed, oh, you and maybe 4 or 5 friends. And several people in Africa too.

Curried Potato and Cauliflower Soup

Soup for a good cause

The Overseas Development Agency Gorta contacted me about their SoupForLife campaign, as part of which they are asking people here to gather ’round for a bowl or mug of soup on the 14th of May and make a small donation to their work fighting hunger and malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa.
If you don’t want to make the soup yourself, a growing number of restaurants are participating by donating €1 for each bowl of soup purchased on that day (with more information available on that over at the SoupForLife blog).

But why soup?

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Spud Sunday: In Handel’s Day

It’s fairly safe to say that, back in 1742, people didn’t spend too much time obsessing about saturated fat or trying to reduce their carb intake. If anything, they were far more concerned with ingesting whatever carbs they could lay their hands on, spuds included.

I mention 1742 because that was the year of the first public performance of George Frideric Handel’s Messiah, which took place in Fishamble Street in Dublin, an event which will be commemorated on April 13th next in Temple Bar, with their Handel’s Day celebrations.

In Handel's Day

Handel had been invited to perform by the Charitable Musical Society, who wanted to raise funds following the Great Irish Famine of 1741 – an event perhaps lesser known, but equally as devastating as the later Potato Famine of 1845-47 – a combination of bad weather and poor harvests that froze potatoes in the ground and left a nation dying of hunger.

It is an indescribably long way from that famine to a world where, within the past few weeks, I have been sent notices about applications aimed at helping people to reduce their intake of saturated fat and carbs. Somebody has perhaps noticed the frequency with which spuds and butter are combined on this site and would like to do something about it, I fear.

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