"In the course of research on Lough Rynn in the 18th and 19th centuries, I came across scores of crusty manuscripts and dusty journals in libraries in Dublin, London and Ballinamore. In addition to all of the useful historical documents, many could be catagorised as "interesting but irrelevant". But irrelevant to whom?
This book documents some of these fascinating manuscripts - recipe books left by Lough Rynn's housekeeper. The recipes are for rich and poor alike - it is interesting to compare the ingredients of "Poor Soup" ot "Rice for the Poor" against the abundance and complications of "Oyster Sausages" or "French Beans". We know that the ingredients called for, like oranges, cinnamon, macaroni and curry powder would have been alien to the tennants who could look forward to a meal of potatoes and milk, and sometimes a ration of meat.
The book of remedies tells us something of the diseases and illnesses which afflicted people of the time. While one might expect to see cures for indigestion and coughs, it may come as a surprise to see cures for asthma and cancer. Its also nice to see that the housekeeper had a touch of vanity about her - there are two recipes for hand cream
For anyone who wishes to try any of the dishes, I can vouch for neither tastiness nor efficacy - you try them at your own risk. However, some must have been good, as Lord Leitrim left his housekeeper £1,000 in his will."
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