I have always been fascinated by the intriguing names of English recipes and have wondered about their origin.
Many years ago, I was privileged to have a ‘pseudo-grandmother’, who regularly baby sat me from a very tender age. Over the years, she became an important member of our family and she passed away just after her 97th birthday.
She emigrated to Canada from Suffolk-on-Kent, England in 1919 at the age of 18, traversing the Atlantic, alone, on a troop ship, and eventually arriving in Halifax, Canada. When she came into our lives, she was about 50 years old, and had many tales to share with us, including her recollections of the day the Titanic sank, WWI and II and much more. My sister and I were particularly fascinated with her fondness for such things called “Bubble and Squeak”, ”Bangers and Mash”, “Toad in the Hole”, and “Syllabub”, among many others.
In my cookbook library, I have a number of English cookbooks, ranging from the turn of the century to more recently, with the likes of Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver and The Two Fat Ladies. In “Good Food from Old England”, written by Gladys Mann and published in London in 1956, some of the recipe titles are so cryptic, they defy one to ascertain the ingredients and the outcome. Examples from Ms. Mann’s book include “Star-Gazey Pie”, “Bedfordshire Clanger”, “Syllabub Under the Cow”, “Old Wives’ Sod”, “Hindle Wakes” and “Singin’ Hinny”.
‘Singin’ Hinny’ is basically a biscuit or scone, made with ground rice, sugar, lard, currants, flour, baking powder and salt. The dough is rolled out to ¼” thickness, place on a hot griddle until browned on both sides, then cut into squares. The origin of the name ‘Singin’ Hinny’ is not mentioned in the recipe, although according to Wikipedia, it is well known in the north of England, especially Northumberland and ‘hinny‘ is apparently a term of endearment in the region. The ‘singin‘ refers to the sound of the sizzling lard as it is cooked on a hot griddle.
Anyone care to venture a guess about what ‘Old Wives’ Sod’ is?