[Spit-Project] Littiu Source: Irish Porridges

Johnna Holloway johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu
Tue Aug 14 12:24:08 PDT 2007

Greetings-- I shared this documentation with the MK and SCA Cooks
List during the war, but I thought since the Spit and Open Hearth people
also make oatmeal or porridge and bake bread under pots, that you all
might like the reference too.


Back in January of this year on the SCA Cooks list, we had some discussions
regarding porridges and grain cereals. At the time Ranvaig posted some
material on "littiu" which was served in Ireland. I have come across a
really good paper on the topic and thought I should mention it.

It's by Regina Sexton. It's titled "Porridges, Gruels and Breads: The
Cereal Foodstuffs of Early Medieval Ireland." It appears as Chapter 9 in
Early Medieval Munster. Archaeology, History and Society. Edited by
Michael A. Monk and John Sheehan. Cork University Press, 1998. pages 76-86.

Sexton says that "Littiu is, described in the legal text Cain Iarraith
as porridge made variously with oaten, barley or wheaten meal combined
with water, buttermilk or new milk. (CIH 1759.36-1760.2) In the comic
tale Aislinge meic Conglinne the same dish is made with sheep's milk. …
The accompanying condiments for littiu include heavily salted preserved
butter (gruiten), fresh butter (imb) and honey (mil). (CIH
1759.36-1760.2 ) " page 76.

CIH is the Corpus Iuris Hibernici, edited by D.A. Binchy. 6 volumes
published in Dublin in 1978.

Actually the section on bread is equally interesting as it goes into
baking breads on griddles
or using inverted pot ovens. The article is fully footnoted and also has
a good bibliography.

I know that others on this list have expressed an interest in early Irish
fare and thought that they might find this source interesting.

Johnnae llyn Lewis

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