You can still find people who leave pans of milk out for the faeries at night, and places like the Ring Fort on our farm are never, ever disturbed.
In the meantime, I’m going to have a slice of this barmbrack with a hot cup of tea to celebrate Samhain — and yes, the girls and I will be leaving a pan of milk outside tonight for our “little friends” in the Ring Fort.Like many people, I learned a lot about cooking form my mum and have then expanded that myself as an adult to a broader range of cuisines and experimenting to suit my tastes and lifestyle.Until very recently, the Irish still maintained some Samhain traditions.People would leave small gifts of food for their departed loved ones, believing their family members would return home for a visit and expect hospitality.Some, like my father-in-law, leave them alone because of their historical significance.
Others are superstitious and believe bad luck will follow them and their farm if they disturb the space.
That said, many will still have a ring hidden in there somewhere and it’s always fun to see who in the family will find it in their slice.
As I get nearer to my five-year anniversary in Ireland, I feel like I’m finally getting a grasp on the many peculiarities of Irish country living.
The language, the customs and, yes, even the food culture took a while to grow on me.
My kids recently received their Canadian citizenship and we’re heading to Cape Breton this Christmas, so I’m looking forward to teaching them some Canadian family traditions.
I grew up listening to spooky stories and cautionary tales from the elders around my community, so I spend a lot of time plying my father-in-law with tea and cake in return for local lore.