Tuesday 24 October 2017

Mammy's cooking - fare beyone compare!

Mary Berry swears by dripping
Mary Berry swears by dripping
The sandwich
Veg - just mash and boil them
Roasting the meat

Pat Fitzpatrick

As Rachel Allen tells Sarah Caden about her new cookbook, 'Recipes From My Mother', our reporter looks at an Irish Mammy's fare


It doesn't help that dripping sounds like an arthouse porn movie. (No sex for the first 30 seconds; you'd want the patience of a pervy saint.) Dripping was the beef fat Mammy used every Sunday, because vegetable oil was for intellectuals. Just one problem. Celeb cooks, including Mary Berry and Heston Blumenthal, swear by dripping for lasagne and chips and more. Mammy's response? "Oh, so now you want to know how to use trendy dripping, before you cart me off to a home?"


"Come here, would ye like carrots with your pork chops the day after tomorrow?" "Yes, Mammy." "Grand, I'll put them on now." There is only one sentence on vegetables in the original Mammy's Guide To Irish Cooking. It reads, "Boil the living shite out of them". Why? Mashing. It's the only way to serve up dinner when you have eight kids. Mammy recently added a new chapter, covering veg other than carrots and turnips. It's called, "Isn't it well for ye?"


The roast chicken on Sunday was lovely, as always. (Thank you, Mammy.) The chicken sandwich for lunch on Monday? Fantastic. The chicken sandwiches Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday? OK, we get it, Mammy, times are tough. Of course, nobody in their right minds would complain to Mammy about a week of chicken sandwiches. Not when the alternative was two slices of bread and the very slightest hint of jam.


"Thanks for the soda bread Mammy, you've a lovely light hand." "You mean like your one Winona Ryder?" "No, not light-handed in a shoplifting sense. I mean your baking." "Oh sorry, it's just I'm not used to getting praise from my family." Mammy. Never lets up. Of course, there's no shortage of hipster artisan bakers these days, who claim to make bread just the way Mammy used to bake it. And no, we don't mean with a fag in one hand, listening to Gay Byrne.


"I'll give you rare," said Mammy, meaning the opposite, the first time you specified how you like your steak. ("He's been watching a lot of BBC Two," said she.) From the 10 minutes of sizzling in the kitchen, you knew she was going for somewhere between 'tough' and 'something that fell through the atmosphere and landed on Earth'. You also knew that Mammy had continental influences. Judging by the size of the steak, she was a big fan of tapas.

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