Thursday, 18 March 2010

Steak, Kidney and Oyster Pudding with a Stout Porter?

As it is St Patrick’s Day – how about a steak, kidney and oyster pudding washed down with a glass of Guinness? In the 18th century the ports of Britain, Europe and the Americas became synonymous with oysters, stouts, pies and public houses along the waterfronts nourishing and watering the working classes.

Irish workers from the early 1700s had started streaming into Britain with the advent of the Industrial Revolution, when new jobs were created; the Irish diaspora is thought to be an estimated 80 million people worldwide, 45 million in the States, who claim “Irish” as their primary ethnicity.

The Chicago River in Chicago, Illinois on Saint Patrick’s Day - coloured green using vegetable dye
So a few puddings or pies would have been sold to those emigrating souls, while the dockers, porters and sailors would have kept the tavern owners happy drinking a large number of pints of Guinness and other ales.

A photochrom print of Patrick Street in Cork, the second-largest city in the Republic of Ireland, ca. 1890–1900. Originally founded as a monastic settlement in the 6th century, Cork is believed to have been an important port city for Vikings. After the Great Irish Famine in the 1840s, Cork became a major point of Irish emigration to North America.
Oysters had been eaten for centuries, if not millennia, as middens testify to the prehistoric importance of oysters as food. Whitstable in Kent, and the Kentish flats at the estuary of the Thames were noted for their oyster beds and were sourced as far back as Roman times, if not probably earlier. In fact oysters were exported to Rome, which does seem somewhat extraordinary .. but true.

Throughout the 19th century, oyster beds in New York harbour became the largest source of oysters worldwide. On any day in the late 19th century, six million oysters could be found on barges tied up along New York’s waterfront. Today there is a scarcity – so oysters instead of being a working class food are now an expensive delicacy.

The development of the waterways during the Industrial Revolution, opened up routes right into the heart of the cities for the agriculture of the day. Barley, hops, brewer’s yeast and water were the main ingredients with a little of the Guinness magic thrown in .. a portion of the barley was roasted to give Guinness its dark colour and characteristic taste.

Porter is a dark-coloured style of beer, assuming the popular name of ‘porter’ from the street and river porters of London. A stout porter, or Stout, became so named because of a strong porter and robust brew of Porter. Muddled? Well .. most names come about this way – a mix and match of terms, bringing about a generic name as in this case.

Guinness, a popular Irish dry stout, originated from Dublin, in the 1750s and through good management and business decisions, together with incredible marketing have remained at the forefront in the drinks market with their clever branding to this day. One instance of this is “Black Velvet”, which was produced and named at the time of Prince Albert’s death in 1861.

Despite its reputation as a "meal in a glass", Guinness contains fewer calories than skimmed milk or orange juice and most other non-light beers – so a meal of steak, kidney and oyster pudding, with a side order of a Guinness or two wouldn’t be too bad an option – now would it? I haven’t had Guinness that often, but that glass with its creamy head of foam certainly brings the taste buds to the fore.

I feel quite a few Irish will have had a few pints in the early part of today, St Patrick’s Day, when the day world seems to turn green – and the Irish make their presence felt celebrating their homeland.

So let’s celebrate with them – have a glass of very dark ruby Guinness – yes it may appear black, but apparently is ruby red! And should you be in pub outside of Ireland, Guinness merchandise will be available to buy .. but only after you’ve purchased a specified number of pints – canny aren’t they?!

It’s a celebration of the Irish, St Patrick’s Day (for posts see below), good old fashioned fare, all washed down with a good pint in a welcoming cavernous, saw-dusted, public house along with many friends singing Irish folk songs to the accompaniment of an Irish fiddle – what more could any of us want. An enjoyable day out.
The Ale-House Door c.1790 by Henry Singleton

Dear Mr Postman – we are still settling and my mother seems comfortable and is quiet, mainly. It is definitely warmer and at last the Spring seems to be in the air ..

Hilary Melton-Butcher
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Mark said...

Great information! I raise a pint of stout to you! Get your green on!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mark .. thank you very much .. yes a pint of Guinness and some oysters would be great .. & I did have my green on - especially! The river looks incredible! Thanks for being here .. Hilary

Wilma Ham said...

Hi Hilary.
Ann-Marie sure is keen on her St Patrick's day.
Anything to have a day of work and celebrate.
I didn't know that about Guinness and its calories however I am suspicious and wonder if it is one of their great marketing ploys.
Fancy making the river green, it does indeed look spectacular.
Great to hear your Mum seems comfortable and I am pleased spring is in the air. Here it is getting remarkably cooler at night, sigh. xox Wilma

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Wilma .. I'd 'forgotten' about Ann-Marie's Irishness .. yes of course - hope she had a good day of celebrating back home. A Glaswegian took her day off - another of those Irish emigrees!

I don't know if that's right .. the Wikipedia site says it .. I just thought it was interesting! It's not on the Guinness site!

Americans love St Patrick's day .. at least it's vegetable dye ... I made a cake for a boss' birthday one year .. it was a fruit cake .. multi-coloured .. it was a shock to all concerned - tasted ok though!!

Thank goodness we're not having to pull the coats round us .. might still have them on .. but not drawn tight! I know .. we get summer and light .. and you're moving towards coolness - sorree!!! Warm cosy evenings though .. xoxo Hilary

Patricia said...

I discovered I have nothing green in my closet this year - but did not worry as I spent the day out of society having a laser treatment and acupuncture. I think I enjoyed the quieter version of the day.
We have lots and lots of oysters here - they are still cheap food/but all the little Olympia Oysters are long since gone. I can see the mussel farms out my porch window and they go on for miles and miles.
We have a great many micro breweries here also and they have specialty foods to go with...
and two pubs specialize in corned beef for the occasion...
many streets have shamrocks painted on them...and quite often we have a good rainbow or two between rain showers
Fun fun sharing thank you..glad all is settling down with your mum

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patricia .. never mind Spring is here now .. and the green day has passed! I hope your treatments have been successful .. and will make a big difference to you.

I think I agree a quiet day is a good thing. But I do enjoy oysters. How wonderful to be able to see the sea and oyster farms .. lovely vistas. Yes – there are micro breweries coming into existence, which I think is great .. I’m not a big beer lover – but I don’t like losing traditional foods and drinks. Corned beef –that’s interesting .. corned beef I thought originated from South America – Argentina or Brazil – I’ll have to find out.

Americans certainly go to town on St Patrick’s Day – painted shamrocks everywhere .. & Rainbows .. how wonderful .. we have damp today, but probably no shining sun to brighten us with coloured half circles ..

Thank you for coming by – Mum is ‘better’ and that’s the main thing .. she’s still not completely well – but we keep going .. thank you - Hilary

janice h said...

Oh, it's been too long since I had a Murphy's....
Weird, but when I think of Irish food, it's always something potato-ey. My favourite Irish thing of all is the music, from ancient fiddles to Enya. Have a good weekend! I'm off to spring clean my clunky old blog.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Janice - well there you are - a choice for a good walk and a call in at the pub on the way home .. good mid-morning weekend suggestion! Irish stew etc ..

You're very musical .. and I love listening to all the varieties .. and I do have Enya music here .. and of course the dance - that took the world by storm.

Enjoy your spring cleaning .. I read it as clean your chunky old dog .. obviously not??!! Good for you .. love your tulips though .. just bought some for Mum, which she'll enjoy ..

Remember your pint - perhaps you should have it today?! Bye ..

Anonymous said...

I'll take the stout beer. Make that three. I can do without the kideny though. Have a great weekend.

Stephen Tremp

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Stephen .. thanks for coming by and commenting and thanks for the follow!

Three stouts at this hour of the day .. it's the middle of the night for you?????? Yes - I know kidneys are not everyone's favourites .. we have choices today - they didn't then!

You too have a good weekend .. Hilary

Sara said...

Hilary -- I really enjoy what you teach about the history of words. As my boyfriend is a chef and teaches a new course about food and culture, I have told him he MUST read your posts.

For example, I knew about a stout beer from my son-in-law. This is the type of beer he frequently orders, but I didn't know how it got it's name or about the roasting of the barley.

You make history fun. Thanks:~)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sara .. that's incredibly kind .. and I'm just so pleased you enjoy and you're happy to be here!! Thank you!! I sincerely hope he approves when he gets here!!

I just enjoy reading these snippets myself and bringing a little bit extra to each post - and thus enjoyable to read Ihope!!

Actually that's a point .. you've made re roasting .. so they were already changing flavours naturally by roasting .. and presumably that's how coffee came about .. roasting the beans .. I'll have to have a look ...

He might find the previous post interesting in the comments section .. about fats .. I subsequently found out the Romans kept leveret farms for food ..

have a good weekend - and glad you're enjoying the history!!

Davina said...

I wouldn't have guessed that Guinness contains fewer calories than skimmed milk or orange juice. You learn something new every day; especially if you read your blog :-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Davina .. nor would I .. but it's mentioned in Wikipedia .. must be a close call?! Thanks for coming over .. good to see you - Hilary

Blue Bunny said...

my jannie drinked real ginniss in irelind!

in texiss she drinking hinekins.

That green watter in chicago seems a little mutch, I thiniks. But whaat do i know about irish selibrashuns? i from germany and china?


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi BB .. my boggi bog just lost my comments. Boo hoo ... Well then your Jannie knows alls about Ginniss and the Irelands. Hinekins in tinnies or iz it in bouteilles?

Green waters looks pretty .. but wot pleases the Irish let them doos if they is selibrashuns ...

U R from Tschermany & Shina .. BB .. someving fery funnies there ...

Gud to zee youse .. hugs

Liara Covert said...

You are an amazing historian and unconscious time traveller who invites readers on a journey back through their inner selves and forgotten memories. Thanks for being you. Reward yourself with whatever beverage appeals:)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liara .. I just pick up odd bits and pieces that amuse me and educate me .. don’t think I’ve learnt so much in years!! There is so much for us to explore in ourselves, our past .. were we travellers in another time .. easy to think so sometimes – just rather glad I’m in the 21st century though. It’s so interesting going back and forth reminding us where we came from ..

Thank you – I think a Guinness on a cool, damping, dark grey English lunchtime might be quite nice – but the rest of the day will go in a haze ... it’s great to see you here .. well done on getting your new publication out – that’s brilliant .. enjoy the rest of the week - Hilary