Food Long Ago

An Account

Cait Forde

Food Long Ago
Cait Forde

This is an account of what my grandparents ate when they were young at Christmas, school, times of war, and weekdays. Enjoy!

So during the week, Monday to Thursday, they would eat bacon and cabbage. The bacon would be from a pig that they killed. The cabbage would be fresh from the vegetable patch outside, that’s where they would get all their vegetables.

You would get a lot of cally (mash) so you would need some butter. To make butter, you would have used a churner to churn the ingredients in. It could be used to churn anything, such as milk from a cow, if you wanted it creamy.

For breakfast, they would have a boiled egg and brown bread.

For tea, they always had homemade brown bread, homemade corn cake, homemade currant cake or homemade treacle cake and some boiled milk. On Fridays, they would always have fish. On Sundays for their breakfast, they would have a fry and for dinner they would have a roast. During lent, they would only be allowed three meals, two big and one small. On Ash Wednesday, they ate NO! meat.

If you were sick, you would get dry toast and chicken soup with parts of chicken in it.

Everyone loved sweets, one of my granny’s favourites were bull’s eyes. They were hard round sweets shaped like eyes. You would get a euro’s worth of them, and you would be sucking them all the way home. There was also a chocolate bar called “Candy” which was delicious.

In 1946, there was a war. You were only allowed a certain amount of tea, sugar and other foods. They were called the ration bags. You would have seen no bananas or oranges, you would probably have only seen apples.

For Christmas, you would have bacon and cabbage, turkey or goose, parts of a pig, such as greece keans, which we now call crubeens, which are pig’s feet. You would also have black pudding made from pig’s blood.

For school, they would bring brown bread and jam or currant cake and jam and a small bottle of milk and a sod of turf for the fire as there was no radiators back then.

My grandad went fishing because he lived beside a river and he still does. He would catch young trout and sprats. He would use flies as bait.

Boiled Fruit Cake

I got this recipe from my granny Mary Forde. This is a recipe she got from her sister Gretta. It is a wonderful boiled fruit cake.


  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of cold tea
  • 5 ounces of margarine
  • 1 pound of fruit
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups of self raising flour


  • Saucepan
  • Round cake tin
  • Bowl


  1. Boil together the fruit, cold tea and margarine slowly for three minutes.
  2. Allow it to cool.
  3. Then add the eggs and flour to the mixture.
  4. Heat the oven to 350°c, Gas Mark 4.
  5. After, put your mixture into the cake tin and bake in the oven for one hour.
  6. Then remove the cake from the oven.
  7. Store the cake in a cool area.

Everyone in my family loves fruit cake and I cannot wait to try this recipe.

I hope you enjoy!

Original Writing




This page was added on 13/02/2018.

Comments about this page

  • Cool story. Never heard of crubeens before. The next time somebody asks me “what is a traditional Irish food?”, I will recommend them even though they sound horrible! 🙂

    By Noel (23/03/2018)

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