Biadh Sean-fhasantach/Old Fashioned Food

Biadh Sean-fhasantach

Bidh móran daoine a' bruidhinn an diugh air an "dòigh-chocaireachd cheud mìle" agus ciamar an urrainn dhaibh sin a dheanamh. Thàinig e thugam gur e sin an ceart rud a bh' aig ar sinnsearan bho chionn ghreis. Bha bùithean ann am Badaig agus aig Abhainn a Tuath far an ceannaicheadh iad tì, siùcar ( donn mar bu trice ), dreagal, tombaca, agus cuid bheag de rudan mar sin, ach na b' urrainn dhaibh deanamh air an son fhéin, 's e sin na rinn iad.

Ri mo chiad chuimhne bha mo phàrantan agus an àl aca a' faighinn an cuid feòla bho 'n bhaile aca fhéin agus bho 'n choillidh a bha faisg air làimh. Fhuair iad an cuid éisg bho 'n chuan anns an robh pàilteas thar tomhais 'sna laithean sin. Dh' fhàsadh glasraich gu leòir anns na gàrraidhean aca, bha craobhan ubhail aca agus bha fios aca càit' am faigheadh 'ad suibheagan dubha, suibheagan craoibh agus suibheagan làir. Gheibheadh iad roinn dhe 'n cuid aodaich agus bidh bho chaoraich. Chan eil cuimhn' 'am air lìon no eòrna bhith ri fàs air a' bhaile againn ( mar a bhios iad aig a' Chlachan Ghàidhealach an diugh ), ach tha mi creidsinn gun robh iad ann roimhe sin.

Cha robh pàrantan mo mhàthar a' fuireach faisg air a' mhuir agus gheibheadh iad na dh' iarr iad de dh' éisg le bhith malairt buntàta air an son. Bha malairt gu leòir dhe 'n seòrsa sin a' dol air adhairt.

Chumadh iad am biadh tro 'n Gheamhradh fhada fhuar. Bhiodh buntàta agus glasraich eile 'gan gléidhidh fo 'n ùrlar 'sna taighean agus biadh 'is éisg 'gan cumail ann am bucaidean le salann. Chan eil cuimhn' agam air latha nach robh dealan ann, no nach robh deighean againn, ach bha na daoine cho eòlach air na seann dòighean 's gun do chum iad ris an fheòil agus na h-éisg a chumail ann an salann seach an gléidheadh le reòthadh 'san déighean. Tha cuimhne math tlachdmhor agam air truisg mhòra shaillte 'gan sùghadh fo 'n ghréin a's t-Samhradh, ach dh' fhàs mi gu math sgìth dhiubh tro 'n Gheamhradh!

Nì mi fhìn fhathast, 'nuair a bhios sgadan tana an Earraich ri fhaotainn dhomh, rud ris a bheirte "sgadan biorach". Gheibhte sgadan a's t-Earrach mus fàsadh iad ro reamhar agus chuirte ann am bucaid le uisge teth agus salann. Dh' fhàgta fad dà no trì laithean mar sin iad agus an uair sin chuirte amach ris a' ghrian iad fad seachdainnean gu leòir gus an searbhadh gu math. Dh' fhàgadh iad 'nan crochadh anns an taigh chonnadh far am fuirgheadh iad glan agus deiseil fad a' Gheamhraidh airson latha a chuirt' 'ad ri goil .

Bha iomadh dòigh aca mar sin gus biadh a ghléidheadh tro na mìosan anns nach robh e ri fhaotainn gu furasda. Mar a tha mi air faighinn amach agus gàrradh beag agam fhìn, gheibhear tlachd ás a' bhiadh a nì thu fhéin a' bharrachd air na cheannaicheas tu, agus tha e fada na 's blàsmhoire. 'S tric a smaoineachas mi, " 'Sann ac' a bha 'm beatha! "

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Old Fashioned Food

There are a lot of people talking today about the "hundred mile diet" and how they can achieve that goal. It came to me that that's exactly what our ancestors had not long ago. There were stores in Baddeck and North River where they'd buy tea, sugar, molasses, tobacco and a few other things like that, but what they were able to do for themselves, they did it.

From my earliest memories my parents and their generation would get their meat from their farms and from the forest nearby. They got their fish from the sea which was abundant beyond measure in those days. Plenty of vegetables grew in their gardens, they had apple trees, and they knew where to get blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. They'd get some of their clothing and meat from sheep. I don't remember flax or barley being grown (as they are at the Highland Village today ) , but I think they were at an earlier time.

My mother's parents didn't live close to the ocean and they'd get what they needed of fish by trade for potatoes. There was a lot of such trading going on.

They'd preserve their food through the long cold winter. Potatoes and vegetables would be kept under the floor, in the houses, and meat and fish in buckets with salt. I don't remember a time we had no electricity or didn't have a freezer, but the people were so expert in the old ways that they continued to keep meat and fish in salt instead of freezing them in the freezer. I have good pleasant memories of big salt codfish drying under the sun in the summer, but I grew quite tired of them through the winter!

I still make, when I have thin, spring herring a thing called "sharp herring" Herring would be gotten in the spring before they grew too fat and they would be put in a bucket with hot water and salt. They'd be left like that for two or three days and then they'd be put out under the sun for enough weeks to dry them well. They were left hanging in the wood shed where they'd stay clean and ready throughout the winter for the day they'd be boiled.

They had many ways like that to preserve food through the months in which it wasn't easy to get. As I'm finding out myself with my own small garden, there is a pleasure to be gotten from the food you grow yourself beyond what you buy, and it's much tastier. I often think, "They had the life!" 

Biadh Sean-fhasantach/Old Fashioned Food

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