About 60 years ago it was common for people to eat an evening meal called ‘briochan’. It consisted of oatmeal and water flavoured with vegetables like onions and sometimes turnip. In some places a flour and oatmeal cake was boiled in the mixture too. Boiled cakes were very common and sometimes they would be cooked with cabbage leaves. Flummery was also ‘a dainty meal’ made from oatmeal. When the oats had been stripped from the stalk at home the seed was taken and steeped in water until the water became sour. The skins or shells were called ‘sounds’ and the sour water was called ‘shearings’. This water was used as a drink and could be taken with porridge if the supply of milk ran short. When flummery was made, the water was boiled until it became like jelly and sweetened with sugar. It could be eaten as the mid-day meal.
Ballinlass, Co. Galway
Collector: Peggie Mahon, Sion Hill, Co. Galway
Informant: Mrs McGill, Sion Hill, Co. Galway
Duchas, ‘The Schools’ Collection’, www.duchas.ie