Making Butter at Home
Margaret Heagney 21st July 2017 Deerpark Social Services Centre, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway
Making butter at home
Interviewer: Clare Doyle (CD)
Interviewee: Margaret Heagney (MH)
MH: Oh, the butter was always homemade, it was
CD: And how would you make it? How would you make butter now?
MH: Well, I’ll tell you. The cows would be milked and the milk would be strained and out into a very clean basin and covered and then you’d take the cream off, next day you’d take the cream off the top of the milk and that was kept in a separate container and you did that for so long and then when you had enough of cream you decided you would churn
CD: And how long would it take now, to make sure you had enough cream? Would it take a few days?
MH: Oh, we had a couple of cows, you know milked in the week and that was put into the churn then and you’d turn the handle and every person that would come in, while you were churning, would have to get a twist of the handle
CD: Give it a turn?
MH: That was the old custom, otherwise the butter wouldn’t form and the milk…
CD: Very nice
MH: Yes, then the butter would come and the buttermilk then and there was you know, what’s this we used to call it? Platters, I think, you know, they were timber
CD: Wooden? Paddle kind of things, were they?
MH: Yes, and the butter was taken out of the churn and t’was washed and rewashed and then salted
CD: Right. How long would it take, how long would you be churning before…would it take an hour?
MH: Ah, you wouldn’t be long.
CD: Would it not?
MH: No, you know, we were like young that time, and we were well able to twist it like
CD: I’d say your mother was so used to doing it that she could do it in no time?
MH: No time. She was, she was a great, hard-working woman, very quiet. Even in them days, I can never remember that she gave us a slap
MH: No. She’s say, “stop that, stop that”.
CD: She never had to do the slaps?
MH: No, she never did. And my father then, would be more stern, he would. He’d be reading the paper and if you were making too much noise he’d just look. That was enough.
CD: All you needed was the look
MH: That was enough. Because he’d go to take off the belt and you get a slap of that if…
CD: If you weren’t careful
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