Christmas 2017

Once again the calendar has been cruel. I have not been able to get to the carol service that I love to attend in South Wexford. So instead of contemporary seasonal reflections I offer instead some notions which commended themselves to my ancestors. In 1808 the Millers were too busy making money in Bristol to be spending it in the West End of London. But one of my mother’s forebears felt the need to buy himself a new bible which he had exquisitely bound in green leather at Hatchards ( a shop which still continues although in new ownership ). In front of this fine, but alas badly printed volume, someone, perhaps Hatchards, perhaps my ancestor, pasted a passage from the famous pioneering philologist Sir William Jones ( 1746-1794). He was the man who did more than any other to establish the link between the Indo- European languages. The first pargraph reads as follows:
“I have regularly and attentively read these Holy Scriptures:¬† am of [ the ] opinion, that this Volume contains, independently of its Divine Origin, more true sublimity, more exquisite beauty, purer morality, more important history, and finer strains of both poetry and eloquence, than can be collected, within the same compass, from all other books that were ever composed, in any age or in any idiom”
ON A DIFFERENT NOTE, we find in a manuscript volume of family recipes dating from 1802, an unnerving way of telling safe from poisonous mushrooms, which are not going to share ( this web site already has far too few readers!) and this recipe for MOCK HAMBURGH BEEF which we can commend to any of our readers who dare use it, as a tasty and nourishing addition to their menus this Christmas.
“Salt your beef with common salt, salt petre [ sic.] and coarse sugar, let it be well rubbed in and turned every day for at least a fortnight, a longer time would not hurt it. When you want to dress [ i.e. cook ] it, let it be smoked for two of three hours over¬† horse dung and saw dust. The [ illegible] thing is that it must simmer until it is tender and never boil.”
The Edmund Burke Institute wishes everyone, friends and “foes” alike, a very happy Christmas and a prosperous new year!
We will be closed until well into January
.HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

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