School: Ball Áluinn (Balla) (roll number 1146)

Balla, Co. Mayo
P. Ó Maolanaigh

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Food in Olden Times

Archival Reference

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0095, Page 190

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In this locality two meals a day were eaten. The first meal was eaten at about eleven oclock. The second was eaten at about seven in the evening. Porridge was eaten at the morning meal and sometimes potatoes followed. Butter milk was used with the porridge and with the potatoes. The people sat round a basket in the centre of the floor when eating the potatoes. Large noggins of milk were passed round. The “noggin” was made of wood. Some are to be found in the district up to the present.
When working in the field “suaidín” was taken. Oaten meal was steeped in water and a little sour milk for a day or two. Less if required sooner. It fermented. This was considered very good to keep up energy. Potato cake and boxty were also eaten. (Oaten meal bread was very commonly used. Even when emigrating to U.S.A. it was customary to bring three or four oaten cakes. In 1900 even I saw an emigrant take them with her.
Bacon generally home killed was eaten in this locality. Bacon also came from the shops. In troubles times here sheep were killed also. Sometimes they were stolen. Fish except herrings was not common as food in the district. Herrings were on sale on market days and were eaten with potatoes. The herrings were roasted across the tongs some coals of peat being put under

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P. Ó Maolanaigh