Celebration of grandmothers at Ballymaloe Cookery School
Grandparents and grandchildren of all ages saw apples being pressed into juice and made into fritters, tasted some tempting examples of heritage varieties and got to meet one of Ireland’s best-known grannies, best-selling author and domestic goddess, Darina Allen.
It was all part of a colourful Grandmother’s Day at Ballymaloe to which Ms Allen, now grandmother to 11, invited grandparents and their grandchildren.
The event was essentially a showcase of traditional skills at Ballymale Cookery School — and throngs of excited families answered the call.
“People brought their windin fall apples and had them pressed into apple juice and I showed them how to make apple fritters — they loved them — as well as bread and drop scones,” Ms Allen said.
Visitors included everyone from very young children to grandparents in their 80s.
The children also enjoyed a tutorial from a local beekeeper and a visit from a local farmer who brought along some old tractors for them to explore.
There was advice on how to turn a ‘glut’ of fruits, berries and vegetables into delightful jams, chutneys and relishes while they also foraged, helped make butter and learned how to use edible flowers and herbs.
“We had a million different things all going on in the farm and in the gardens,” said Ms Allen.
“The children loved it and there was a lovely bond between grandparents and grandchildren.
“The children really loved hearing stories about what their grandparents did when they were little.
“Often it was the simplest things they loved — they were fascinated by the foraging walks and how dandelions and nettles were things that they could eat — they didn’t know that.”
Children also went on a scavenger hunt and competed a poetry competition, penning some “hilarious” poems about cooking with their grannies, Ms Allen said.
Many picked flower posies to give as gifts, while smaller children enjoyed guided tours of the organic farm, where they got the chance to feed the chickens and collect eggs.
Darina Allen with (from left) Naoise Cotter, Leah Ronayne, Sarah O’Keeffe and Casey Cotter of the Lena Moran Cookery School, Aglish, Co Waterford, at the Slow Food East Cork Grandmothers Day at Ballymaloe Cookery School, Co Cork.