Another wonderful article from this week’s Catholic Herald of the UK.
Let me give you just a couple of the good bits… go there and read the whole thing.
‘Good Hebridean food – it’s so easy’
Carolyn Reynier meets one of Britain’s oldest priests who rises at five and does all his own cooking in his remote island parish
3 July 2009
‘I’m an old man of 85.
I live on fish and potatoes – we grow the loveliest potatoes in the world. I grow all my own crops; we grow them on raised beds of seaweed called lazy beds."
The speaker is the Very Reverend Canon Angus John MacQueen, the place is the Outer Hebridean island of Barra where he has been a parish priest since 1952.
Does he have other priests visiting? He laughs.
"Yes, oh yes! You can’t keep them away _- friends from my theology days, even cardinals. When I was in one of the other parishes here on the islands, I had Cardinal Hume. He asked: ‘What do I have to do?’ I said: ‘You have to look after the sheep.’ He was an angler and on my croft in South Uist I had one of the finest trout lochs on the whole island, so he had the sheep to look after on the croft and he could fish the rest of the day. …
He still grows his own crops – carrots, onions, early potatoes, main crop.
"The potatoes we like best are something like Maris Piper for a main crop. The people in England they like wet potatoes. The people in the highlands of Scotland only eat dry potatoes. We were quite surprised when that war was on and people came to build airport runways here on the bigger islands. We thought we would sell them potatoes and we grew potatoes for them but they didn’t like them because they were dry. Now, our idea of a potato is something that throws off its jacket once it’s boiled, and is dry and you eat it with your fingers by preference. Those of us who are very old, we eat all our fish with our fingers. We forgive Queen Margaret of Scotland, God rest her soul, for bringing knives and forks from France."
Canon MacQueen does all his own cooking using old-fashioned iron pots, frying pans and griddles. "Good Hebridean food, it’s so easy because we have the best ingredients." His six hens keep him supplied in eggs for his scones. "I do a lot of baking. The fish factory is just down the road. We have the largest red crabs you ever saw, we have lobsters, crayfish sometimes weighing up to six to seven pounds. I can wander along the shore and knowing the fishermen I can always find a fish to eat or a bit of lamb. During the hard time of the winter, we have barrels of herring and mackerel with potatoes. We are potato people.
Reminds me of….
"We are noodle folk!"
Really great article. I would love to meet this priest, after reading this.