RABBIT PIE

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Stanley
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RABBIT PIE

Post by Stanley » 23 Nov 2018, 07:20

RABBIT PIE

I was lucky enough to be raised by a mother who was a good cook. Even in the depths of food rationing she kept us fed with three hot meals a day. Further, she encouraged me to help her in the kitchen, I was chopping vegetables up and even peeling onions from a very early age, I remember I had to stand on a stool to reach the work surface. This meant that I entered independent adult life able to cook for myself and even bake bread. From what I gather, this early home education is largely a thing of the past and if I am correct, 'Domestic Economy' is no longer taught in schools. The regrettable 'Just Eat' campaign encourages young people to live by patronising take away shops or buying 'ready meals' in the supermarket.
Another big change is that in an age where food is plentiful (As long as you have enough money!) we see more and more exotic products in the shops, some of which I don't recognise and have no idea how to cook. Cookery programmes on TV urge us to be adventurous and try these new delights. I'm hopelessly old-fashioned of course and would like us to go back to some of the foods our grandmothers regarded as staples.
The idea for this article arose this week when one of my friends who was reared in the West Country reminded me of what was a common practice in the Hungry Thirties when farming was in deep depression, enclosing small areas of land to create Warrens and farming rabbits to augment incomes. The rabbits were harvested by trapping, gutted and sent by rail to the large towns where there was a ready market for what was then a common food. This was not common in Craven as far as I know, instead the market was supplied by workers who spent their spare time catching rabbits. My old mate Ted Lawson and I used to make our tobacco money by going out once a week and ferreting for rabbits on Colonel Clay's land at Malham. We sold them round the pubs and kept a couple for home. I'm sure my children can remember their mother's rabbit pie which was a delight. I think the last rabbits I saw on public sale were imported frozen from China but I don't know where you could get one today.
Rabbits aren't the only thing that has fallen out of favour. Most offal and even ox-tails have to be sent for processing. Sheep's heads were always poor people's food (leave the eyes in, it's to see us through the week....) and to tell the truth I was never a big fan. I am told that if people knew that black puddings are made from pig's blood sales would nose-dive and boiling beef bones for stock is almost unheard of. I'd like to see more home cooking and if you want adventure try some of the old favourites. You will save money and perhaps get a surprise!

Image

Ferret, dog and rabbits outside the Station Hotel at Earby
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

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