No place for fussy eaters!

Although he was not born in Cornwall, my husband was brought up there from an early age and considers himself Cornish. I was looking through some old Cornish recipes, and I wonder how he as a fussy eater would mange many of them – muggety pie for example, which is pig’s intestines, cleaned sliced, layered with onions, covered with pastry and baked… I think I know the answer to that one!

Like many country recipes, especially in areas where in the past there has been poverty (including East Anglia where my family is from) food could not be wasted and every part of an animal was eaten – in the case of pigs, everything bar the oink, it was said!

Looking at the Cornish recipes, kettle broth is made from dripping, onions, stale bead and bacon rinds, nettles are gathered  for nettle soup (actually very delicious!) limpets were gathered, boiled and eaten with salt and plenty of pepper and vinegar. There are recipes for other fruits of the sea which are now luxuries but then could be an everyday item, crabs for example. If you haven’t any meat for a pasty, gather herbs, or just use leeks or turnips… I’m sure they were delicious and filling fr hungry people.

Cornish fishermen would have used everything in their nets, but conger eel? I think I’d struggle – unless I was very hungry, which I guess in the past many people were, no place for fussy eaters then! Don’t waste the brown crispy bits left from rendering pork fat – mix them with barley flour and salt, bake them in the oven, cut them into squares, call them grovey cake and eat them hot! Mix flour and lard and add anything sweet – a handful of raisins, chopped apple,a pinch or two of sugar, bake it and eat it still warm.

To drink…

Cornish barm

  • 2 oz plain flour
  • 4 oz mashed potato
  • 2 pints of warm water
  • 4 oz sugar
  • a few raisins
  1. mix flour, sugar and mashed potato really well
  2. add the warm water and raisins
  3. bottle and leave for at least one week before drinking

This sounds so weird I’m almost tempted to make it just to see what it’s like. Would it have become alcoholic? Do you need to strain it? Do you drink it cold or warm it up? Who knows, I must investigate further, but once again, it would be cheap, and use left overs.


  • 12 fl oz treacle (it doesn’t specify whether it’s black treacle or golden syrup, I’m guessing from the name it’s the black stuff)
  • 24 fl oz gin
  1. beat treacle and gin together and drink – best served with pilchards!


    1. Lois

      My aunty loved dripping and we gave all ours to her – I think I mentioned that she collected a bowl of it, put it in the back of the car went for a picnic with a lot of children, came back and only several days later wondered what the funny smell was… I don’t think she ever got the fat out of the car carpet, or got rid of the smell… I never liked the texture of dripping toast…


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