The Irish Mammy Starter Kit
With Mother’s Day just around the corner in Ireland, we thought it would be a good time to dedicate another blog to the wonderful species that is the Irish Mammy.
As many of you have no doubt discovered in your youth, an Irish Mammy can occur anywhere across the globe, whether it’s Galway, Glasgow or Georgia, and those mothering traditions from the Emerald Isle can pass through many a generation.
You might have already seen our blog, identifying 19 Things that all Irish Mothers Say, but this year we’ve got another fool-proof way of spotting them in your midst – The Irish Mammy Starter Kit.
Whether your mum wields one, two or all of the below – it’s likely that she has a bit of the Irish Mammy to her! If you’re still stuck for a Mother’s Day idea, refresh her roots with a subscription to Irish at Heart, bringing a little piece of Ireland to her doorstep every month.
The Wooden Spoon
The dreaded wooden spoon. Every Irish Mammy has one. At first glance it may seem like an innocuous kitchen utensil - used for stirring hearty stews or mixing birthday cake batter - but in the hands of an Irish Mammy it is so much more.
If you ever dared to mouth off to your Mammy while she was in the kitchen, you could be sure that wooden spoon had the potential to be a deadly weapon. For most Irish children the threat of the spoon was enough to dissuade any rebellious behaviour, but if you were slightly more spirited (and slightly less quick) then you probably felt the sharp wrath of the spoon across your buttocks as you fled for the nearest exit.
The Immersion Switch
If you grow up in Ireland with an Irish Mammy, then there’s a chance that you would be familiar with the concept of an immersion switch.
Switching this on would heat up the houses water supply - toasting up the radiators and getting the pipes ready for a nice hot bath. Forgetting to switch it off again was a definite no-no.
The soundtrack to many an Irish childhood was hearing your mammy shout down the stairs to check you had turned off the immersion, just before you snapped the front door shut.
Of course you would always answer that you had indeed remembered to flick it off, while stealthily tip-toeing back to correct your unforgiveable oversight.
The Tea Pot
Serving up tea is not just a daily household task, but rather an Irish Mammy’s ritual. God help you if you’re asked to assist in providing guests with refreshments and think that splashing some boiling water over a teabag in a mug will do.
Tea is brewed in a teapot, the nice china one for guests and the normal (possibly slightly cracked) one for everyday family members. Once the kettle has boiled be sure to roll a little round the pot before popping in the tea bags, to heat it up before you start the brewing process, and once you have – you may as well stick the kettle right back on again because it will certainly be needed in the very near future.
While we’re on the subject, teabags must always be kept in ready supply (preferably Barry’s or some other equally reputable Irish brand) and buying in bulk is recommended on a near weekly basis.
The “Good” Biscuits
If you were ever trusted to partake in the sacred ceremony detailed above, then there’s a high chance that you would have been asked to get a few of the “good biscuits” laid out on a plate for the guests.
Now these were not your everyday Rich Tea biscuits that you would associate with an afternoon cuppa, not at all. These ranged from chocolate hob nobs to fancy department store assortment packages that were gifted by the neighbours at Christmas time.
Your Irish Mammy might have pretended that it was no big deal in the face of your guests, and that such treats were commonplace in your household – but you knew that snaffling some of these on the sly could be a considered a crime punishable by wooden spoon.
Unless of course they were starting to go stale, in which case they were fair game (with Mammy’s say so of course…).
The Flat 7-Up
If you had an Irish Mammy growing up then you know that a trip to the Doctor for any minor illness was out of the question, when all you really needed was a flat can of 7-up.
Everything from the sniffles to a bout of food poisoning could be solved by popping the tab on a can that had been stowed at the back of the kitchen cupboard, and leaving it by the sink until all the bubbles had well and truly escaped. Get that down you and you’d be right as rain in no time. Incidentally there was no need to worry about any sell-by dates - the medicinal qualities of 7-up were simply not affected by such trivial details.