Tag Archives: farmhouse kitchen

Feeding Time

On the farm. Cooking was never a huge priority for me before becoming a farmer’s wife. I loved to cook and it was often fancy but I could get away with the odd take away or frozen meal. Not for this farmhouse I’m afraid. To start with, the farmer is spoiled rotten and he’ll tell you that himself. The priorities for cooking are as follows; it has to be wholesome, feeding men who are working intensively for hours outdoors.

Then it has to be in great quantity, you have no idea how much farmers can eat and as for the small little boys coming up behind them, a gallon of milk a day goes nowhere. There has to be enough in the fridge/freezer/pantry at any time to feed an extra if one should one arrive for feeding at the door. The meal has to be of good quality, for the health benefits, farming families who milk twice a day, 365 days a year cannot afford to be sick, so it’s meat, vegetables, carbs and dairy to fill the bellies. We buy our meats, fish, vegetables and other as locally as we can. We bring in milk from our own dairy. Lastly, it has to be varied and tasty, varied because we sit together everyday at the table and it’s good not to be able to predict the day’s dinner and tasty because, life my friends, is short.

Breakfast is porridge, wholesome brown bread, tea and fruit. Lunch this time of year is most likely homemade soup and is eaten after first milking at 12pm when our four year old comes in from playschool. Dinner that we’ve now moved to 4.30pm to accommodate our school goer is a hotpot, meat-and-two-veg, curry or whatever takes the farmer’s wife’s fancy. It’s one pot for all generally in the farmhouse, the children eat a smaller portion from the pot. There’s no time for special orders. The eldest lays the cutlery, the second ‘does the cups’ and the baby decorates the floor. We eat together everyday. After dinner, there is tea with biscuits, icecream or if you’re very good, a cake. Fresh cake does every occasion make. Sponge cake for a birthday, chocolate gateau for a visitor, carrot cake to carry out visiting.

Somedays, I feel like I spend my days cooking and then I remember I do. Feeding five, six people a day is no easy task. I am like every mother and some fathers who do the same every day for their families there is no doubt. But, somehow, it seems different in a farmhouse, you’re fueling a hard days work on the farm and I am the train driver throwing coal into the engine fire from my very own stove. Eating out is a real treat that we really delight in (if it’s good) and I relish any cup of coffee that I don’t have to make myself. Feeding time on the farm; an all consuming, sometimes funny, delicious, family affair.


I started an overdue post yesterday as follows;

The tax man is licking his lips and wringing his wrinkly old hands. Whatsmore, this October storm is tapping a ‘remember me’ tune on the windows and though it was slow to reach us, there’s no denying that Winter is here. Yes, Winter offers us a respite from much of the hard work that comes with the farm. In the farmhouse, however, there is much to keep the farmer’s wife busy.

If you’re still with me, read on…

On thinking on survival, I remember my early country mentor, my Grandmother, Cait. She was the quintessential country woman. In the reverse of my situation, this fine country woman found herself living in the city. And throughout her life, she offered me glimpses of what being a countrywoman meant. She cared for herself just enough so that she could look after her children and her home. Loved those same children enough to make sure they grew up strong and fed them healthily to chase illness from their threshold.

Today’s much needed amendment;

I caught my Nana once drinking a scalding hot Lemsip down to the gulps of us, her awestruck city grandchildren.  She made sure there was a homemade creamy sponge cake in the fridge every Saturday night when she babysat us. And she loved Dallas. She knew more about hurling than any man I know. But she was deaf and rarely spoke. So how do I know? Despite a very difficult life, the sparkle in her beautiful eyes, said listen girl, ‘just face the music and dance’.

I’m lucky to look just like her, her height, cheek bones and stature (sometimes not so lucky) and so increasingly, I catch her looking at me in the mirror and she’s smiling. Let’s face it, farming in Ireland as a one income family with three small boys requires basic survival strategies. Most days, I’m chanelling my inner country woman just to get through the day. And then comes the point when you stop just surviving and you’re smiling and dancing with little boys (God help them) to Frank Sinatra in a kitchen and you’re living again. Winter is here and only the fittest will survive (!), so put on your dancing shoes, grab your inner Grandmother and dance.



Green and Gold Jelly

It is no secret that I have a Love/Hate relationship with Kerry. Love stemming from the day I first looked into the blue eyes of a Kerry farmer, hate from the day a Kerry relative refused me jelly and icecream. It was the Munster Final day Cork stopped Kerry from getting the ‘four in a row’ and I love jelly. A couple of years later, I remember giants in red jerseys coming to my school hall as us young things got our first taste of the majestic on seeing these giants in red lift the Sam Maguire cup to our roars. Corcaigh Abu we screamed to the honey pot.

This week, Kerry is alive with green and gold and I’m having to suppress the hate bit. There is a five year old Kerry boy (who has to be surgically removed from his Kerry jersey) at my skirt tails in the kitchen asking me questions about the Kerry team. Until now, I’ve made it my business not to take that much of an interest so I’m stuck. A poster is lifted up to me; ‘Who’s that fella?’ ‘Oh he must be the Gooch?’ ‘No mom, he’s the fella with the orange hair’ ‘And who’s that fella?’ ‘Oh, that’s grouchy.’ ‘No mom, that’s the Star!’ ‘And who’s that fella?’ ‘Harpo? Go ask your Dad!’

I overhear the Kerryman recite the rollcall of Kerrymen to his excited son; their green and gold giants. And as I contemplate how to layer Green jelly on Gold, I think I need these Kerry Giants to try their hardest to bring some majesty to my little boy’s life in the form of the same Sam McGuire cup. Just try your hardest we tell our Kerry boys, just like the Kerry team. The hate seems to be disolving in the pouring of the jelly.