Lammas, Lughnasadh, Loafmass, Harvest Home….
It goes by many names and each carries some specific weight and tradition with it.
Most simply use Lammas as it’s easy to say and spell. Others who have a decidedly more Irish or Celtic bent will use Lughnasadh instead. Regardless of what you call it, in the northern hemisphere it is associated with the first harvest of grain and is frequently celebrated with games and a feast.
In my early years I had a friend who threw a big Lughnasadh party every year that went for the entire weekend. We’d all camp out on her front yard in Arroyo Grande and play games; there’d be athletic games, strategy games, and games for the kids. On Saturday there’d be a big feast often showcasing rabbit and on Sunday her coven would lead the ritual in celebration.
Lughnasadh is the traditional time for games to be held in honor of Tailtiu, who cleared a large forest so that the land could be tilled. On her deathbed she told the men of Ireland that as long as they held games in her honor that Ireland would never be without song.
Here are some traditional recipes for dishes to be served on this day; please note that these are not ‘low-fat’ or other such nonsense recipes.
3-5 lbs new potatoes, scrubbed and diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 medium head of green cabbage or kale, trimmed and diced (1 inch cubes)
Half & half or heavy cream
Salt & pepper
Boil potatoes until tender. While potatoes are cooking, steam cabbage or kale along with onion. I generally put them in a steamer dish on top of the potatoes; salt and pepper these before steaming.
Drain potatoes and add enough half & half or cream to ease the mashing, adding chunks of butter to the potatoes. Add in steamed cabbage and onions (or kale and onions) and mix together.
Place in large serving dish, leaving a well in the center that you have placed even more butter in.
Serve warm once all the butter had melted. You can also add heated cream to the center well.
BANNOCK - IRISH SODA BREAD
4 c. sifted flour
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 c. butter
2 c. raisins
1 1/3 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. soda
1. Combine and sift flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.
2. Cut in butter with pastry blender until it resembles coarse cornmeal.
3. Stir in raisins.
4. Combine buttermilk, egg and soda and add to flour mixture.
5. Stir until just moistened.
6. Bake in greased round cake pan or pyrex, 35-45 minutes at 375 degrees or until golden brown.
7. Yield: 1 loaf.
8. Break instead of cut. Does not freeze well.