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Welsh cuisine

 

Welsh cuisine

page under construction

Welsh gastronomy is discussed on this page and it is shown that cuisine is part of gastronomy and not the other way round.
 
 

Overview and page index


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Practical


A welsh food symbol? here

List 1  here

     Welsh lamb
     leeks
     griddle cakes
     salmon
     Caerphilly cheese
     fruit
     laverbread
     boiled edible seaweed



List 2  here

     Bara Brith
     Lob scows
     Cawl 

List 3  here

     
Glamorgan sausage
     Sewin
     Welsh Mountain sheep
     Aberfraw cake
     Bara Planc
     Crusty Swansea
     Welsh Pancake
     Welsh Plate Cake

List 1 again  here


food miles  here
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Pictures

The British Isles here
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.three Welsh symbols here
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Theoretical

culture here
Welsh culture here
 
cuisine here

Welsh cuisine here

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There is plenty elsewhere on this website on Scottish and English cuisine.  It is time to look at Wales.

One reason for starting the project arises from asking people in S E Wales about the Welsh food symbol.  The conversation started something like this:

Scotland has its haggis and England its roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.  What is the Welsh equivalent?"

There was no consistency in replies and this page will explore them in due course.

The project uses the broad approach I used in writing the haggis book.


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It makes sense to take a look at British cuisine first and see Wales in its context. 







This is p 82 of The World Atlas of Food, 1988, Spring Books.  The Wales presence re foods mentioned is less than England due to it not occupying as much territory.  The range of foods is just as wide, however.

After listing the foods mentioned, we can look at them in a wider context.  

     Welsh lamb
     leeks
     griddle cakes
     salmon
     Caerphilly cheese
     fruit
     laverbread
     boiled edible seaweed


At first glance, you might say that there's plenty of griddle cakes elsewhere in the British Isles and particularly in Scotland.  As for leeks, salmon and fruit, similar remarks may ensue.  You then ask about the daffodil as symbols of Wales.  Fine but it's not eaten there.  Leeks and daffodils are dealt with here.  We'll take the other items on the list later.  Clearly, insights into culture should come first.

Culture

When the concept first emerged in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe, it connoted a process of cultivation or improvement, as in agriculture or horticulture. In the nineteenth century, it came to refer first to the betterment or refinement of the individual, especially through education, and then to the fulfillment of national aspirations or ideals. In the mid-nineteenth century, some scientists used the term "culture" to refer to a universal human capacity. 

... the word "culture" is most commonly used in three basic senses:
  • Excellence of taste in the fine arts and humanities, also known as high culture
  •  
  • An integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning
  •  
  • The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group source

    Another quotation helps explain Welsh culture to the uninitiated [including me].

    The culture of Wales is distinctive, with its own language, customs, holidays and music.

    Wales is primarily represented by the symbol of the red Welsh Dragon, but other national emblems include the leek and daffodil. The Welsh words for leeks ... and daffodils ... "(Saint) Peter's Leeks") are closely related and it is likely that one of the symbols came to be used due to a misunderstanding for the other one, though it is less clear which came first. source.

    With these under our belts, we can tackle cuisine.
Cuisine

Cuisine (from French cuisine, "cooking; culinary art; kitchen"; ultimately from Latin coquere, "to cook") is a specific set of cooking traditions and practices, often associated with a specific culture. It is often named after the region or place where its underlining culture is present. A cuisine is primarily influenced by the ingredients that are available locally or through trade. Religious food laws can also exercise a strong influence on cuisine.  source


Much of our look at Welsh cuisine depends on that sentence - 

A cuisine is primarily influenced by the ingredients that are available locally or through trade.


Welsh cuisine

Wales is traditionally seen as an agrarian country and the traditional cuisines of Wales represent this heritage. Indeed, traditional foods tend to be simple, utilising readily-available ingredients and those cuts of meat that were not readily saleable. Baking is also a large part of the country's culinary culture and these dishes (such as
Bara Brith [speckled bread]) tend to be fruitcakes that will keep for many days and were often served as a workman's tea. Traditional recipes such as lob scows (a lamb-based stew), Welsh rarebit, laver bread, brithyll abermeurig (Abermeurig trout) and Penclawdd cockles tend to be regional, reflecting the foods available in that region.

Of late, however, there has been a growing trend for many chefs to re-interpret these dishes in a more modern, fusion context.  Though leeks and onions are commonly used during the year they tend to feature even more prominently in the recipes for St David's day and that other staple of the Welsh diet, locally produced lamb is also used. These days, however, more trout (especially sea trout, sewin) is also used. Traditionally on St David's day, many Welsh families enjoy cawl, a Welsh stew, containing meat (normally lamb or beef), potatoes, swede, leeks and a variety of other root vegetables.  source
 



The definition included these terms and they are there to be researched via Google and/or your library.  If you are in Wales, talk to the local people and hospitality professionals:

     Bara Brith

     Lob scows

     Cawl                  

     Don't forget the the livestock in the definition.

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You can also look for:

     Glamorgan sausage

     Sewin

     Welsh Mountain sheep

     Aberfraw cake

     Bara Planc

     Crusty Swansea

     Welsh Pancake

     Welsh Plate Cake


The previous list of food can now re-emerge.

     Welsh lamb
     leeks
     griddle cakes
     salmon
     Caerphilly cheese - later
     fruit
     laverbread
 

     boiled edible seaweed - later

I hear you saying that leeks, griddle cakes, salmon and fruit are in numerous cuisines.  You have an insight into why the first is dear to the Welsh.  





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Three Welsh symbols on one plate. The griddlecakes are Welsh cakes.
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These four pictures are from Traditional British Cooking, E Ayrton & T Fitzgibbon,
Hennerwood, 1985.  Brown text = quotations.

             
 

From the bottom:  Welsh rarebit, Laverbread,           From the bottom [right]: Cold leek and potato soup,          
leeks with cheese sauce - p57                                    Cabbage and leek soup, Crab in cream sauce, stuffed mushrooms






                      


From the top anticlockwise: Rabbit and               From the top clockwise:Fruit cake from
onion pie, Boiled leg of  lamb with caper              Llandudno, Brecon light cakes, Stone
sauce, Loin of pork with cabbage cake                 cream, Welsh cakes - p 63
from the Welsh  Marches - p 61

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If this sentence is important


A cuisine is primarily influenced by the ingredients that are available locally or through trade.

attention can be paid to such matters as
 

Local Welsh food eats up miles before reaching tables source

“We all know that consumers want Welsh milk,” says Dai Miles, a dairy farmer and Calon Wen director.

“However for years that’s meant buying pints that have done an extra 200-plus miles just because someone has closed the local dairy, and moved it to central England.” source

 
Sustainable food here. More nearby when you arrive.



Illustration by Charlie Powell   source "I'm fed up with all these milk miles." from 
 


more later

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