An Irish Christmas in the 1930s and 1940s

Eneclann’s Jennifer Doyle spoke to her gran about Christmas, and the foods enjoyed, back in the 1930s and 1940s in Wexford and Wicklow.

Well, ham was no novelty but turkey was.  We ate ham and bacon most of time but during Christmas, I looked forward to the real taste of turkey.  There were three celebrations during Christmas time,  Christmas Day, New Years Day and ‘Little Christmas’, January 6th.  We had three turkeys and three puddings; turkey was special and we didn’t really eat it at other times of the year.  We had a big turkey and stuffed it with potatoes.  My mother always put the potatoes through a ricer after they were boiled and then they were mixed with lots of onions before we stuffed the turkey.  We didn’t have a cooker like today.  Most people had a big pot which they put over the fire and cooked their turkey in but my mother had what we called an oven.  It was a kind of a box and you lit a fire underneath it and you cooked your turkey that way.  The dinner was served with lots of vegetables and lovely gravy – you didn’t need ham with all that.  The pudding was always made beforehand and boiled in a pudding cloth;  everyone had a stir and made a wish before we boiled it.  It hung to dry in the kitchen until it was needed.  We had Christmas cake too but I don’t remember it being iced.  It was more special than ordinary cake; there was lots more fruit.  We had three puddings and all were as big as a football!

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