Tuesday, March 2, 2010

St. David's Day

My mother, Libby Hughes, first child, bottom left, in traditional Welsh dress, St. David's Day celebration, Second Presbyterian Church, Emporia, Kansas. 1949. Emporia had a significant Welsh population.

Daffodils, one of the symbols of Wales
So, the Irish get all the press with their St. Patrick's Day and their shamrocks and green beer. But those of us who claim Welsh heritage have our day, too. March 1 is St. David's Day, St. David being the patron saint of Wales.

Growing up with a mother who is fully Welsh (with an immigrant mother and a father who was the son of immigrants), all of us kids were super-aware of our ancestry. She made us Bara Brith (basically Welsh raisin-candied peel bread) and Welsh griddle cakes, took us to Gymanfa Ganus (Welsh singing festivals) and amazed us with her ability to rattle off the name of a town in Wales that has one of the longest places names in the world: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. For real. It means "The church of St. Mary in the hollow of white hazel trees near the rapid whirlpool by St. Tysilio's of the red cave."

All that exposure to Welsh culture seemed to work, if the goal was to make us proud of our heritage. Several of my brothers have Welsh tattoos (I have skipped the tattoo but wear a necklace with a Welsh dragon), we speak to our own children about being Welsh. Five of the nine children in our family have had the opportunity to travel to Wales and visit with relatives and see where our family came from.

It was on a trip to Wales in 1998 when I got this recipe for griddle cakes from a distant cousin in Llandybie, Wales. She had made them for our visit and I thought they were just delicious! I decided I would make them for my kids yesterday, and after finally figuring out the conversions (ounces to cups and tablespoons), I set to work.
I'm not sure if these are exactly how they are supposed to be (I had never made them before and haven't eaten them in years - probably since 1998), but they seem like what I remember. They are sort of like a cross between a biscuit and a pancake.

Kitty's Welsh Griddle Cakes

1 1/2 cups flour
6 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons sugar
1 or 2 teaspoons spices (this recipe didn't specify which spices - I just shook in a little of everything I had - cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, allspice)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3-1/2 cup currants
1 egg
1/4 cup (ish?) milk
Put everything but currant, egg and milk in a bowl and cut with pastry blender until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Add currants and egg and, if neccessary, milk. I found that I needed about 1/4 cup to make the dough wet enough.

Roll out the dough about 1/2 inch thick and cut with circle cutter.
Bake on a griddle (or in a pan), medium heat, a few minutes on each side until cooked.
I served them warm with butter, which I don't know if it's traditional, but yum. The kids sure liked them.
And, just because he's cute.

1 comment:

Libby said...

You could use that photo of Dexter in a poster titled, "BLISS"!