The secrets of being the perfect farm wife
Did you know that eggs that are at least four days old make a lighter cake, or that a holey welly makes a perfect pot for growing herbs?
These are among the trailer-full of useful hints and tips contained in How To Be a Perfect Farm Wife, the brand new book by Lorna Sixsmith, which goes on sale today at the Ploughing.
A follow-up to the very popular Would You Marry A Farmer? it captures the rich essence of life on Irish farms in the early 21st century and the always-changing, ever multi-functional, role of the farmers' wife. But its delightfully witty and heart-warming style is sure to appeal to an audience far beyond the farm gate.
Years ago, most farming wives came from a farming background and knew what to expect when they got married: long hours, hard work and a fluctuating income. The challenges today aren't much different but many of today's farm wives feel inadequate as they don't necessarily have the knowledge to reverse trailers, feed calves or understand the farm lingo.
Among the highly pertinent questions answered in this book are: How to feed eight contractors with ten minutes' notice? How to keep on the right side of the mother-in-law? How to deal with the stresses faced by farmers, which also includes PHT (pre-harvest tension).
Interwoven with interesting snippets of information and history, including newspaper small ads from down through the years, this book is also a tribute to the much undervalued contribution of generations of industrious Irish farm women.
Obviously, given the subject matter, issues related to the kitchen get plenty of coverage. So there is a host of tried and trusted farmhouse recipes, including the author's signature chocolate biscuit cake.
Her tips include the many uses of bread soda and the suggestion that a half lemon placed in your dishwasher for a wash will leave a fresh smell and remove water marks.