Friday 15 July 2011

Cod Liver Supper, Anyone?

Cod / Bodach Ruadh or Trosg
Very rarely does Alexander Carmichael take the trouble to write down recipes but here is one interesting example of presumably a local delicacy. It would appear that Carmichael took down the instructions in order to prepare cod liver from the recitation of Anthony Campbell (1825–1907) who belonged to Kentangaval in Barra. As is well known cod liver oil – though perhaps not to everyone’s taste – is a common nutritional supplement that is beneficial as it is full of vitamins that help to maintain good health. Carmichael doesn’t mention whether he ever tried the recipe but it seems that he probably did given that he was intrigued enough to have even bothered to have taken it down. Perhaps the resulting dish was rather tasty and it certainly would have been full of very healthy nutrients given that the Hebridean diet then, as now, includes fish such as cod, halibut or turbot and ling:

Gnuan [Gruthan] nam bodach, the liver is washed & put
in clean cold water & all[owed] to stand there for 3 or 4 hours
when it becomes nearly snow white. Then put in a
basin agus ga thaosna[dh] agus toirt as a chuile
riamhach a th ann. Then put puts [sic] a small
grain of salt, soda & pepper & then oat
meal or bere & baked & put in a say a pudding
plate. Puts this in a Poot [sic] of boiling water & if at
hand flounders soles Crog or Crogabhaigean
or piece of cod or skate. Nearly an hours or ¾
takes out allows it to cool little warmer
than cold. Like butter them & delicious
2 put in the goile of the trost & used as a
marrag. The gnuan [gruthan] of the langa is stronger
again. first boiled like fish & then fried.
But only the liver of the ling with the iuchair is
safe. If the gnuan [gruthan] of a ling is taken it causes
for 3 days a heaviness & then the skin peels
of & casts. He is troubled with musgaid, ruai,
trom or sac. The bradan leathan's gnuan [gruthan]
if with iuchar does the same. When the fish[erman]
wants a gruan [gruthan] langa he puts a X of the
gnuan [gruthan] of the ling that has an iuchair & upon
no account touches another.

CW108/22, ff. 7r–7v.
Cod / Bodach Ruadh or Trosg.

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Stone whorls WHM 1992 13 2.4

Stone whorls WHM 1992 13 2.4
Stone whorls collected by Alexander Carmichael, held by West Highland Museum (ref. WHM 1992 13 2.4). [©]