Cel­e­bra­tion of grand­moth­ers at Bal­ly­maloe Cook­ery School

Irish Examiner - County - - News - Áilín Quin­lan

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.

Pic­ture De­nis Mini­hane

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.

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