‘I am very conscious that many people find themselves in difficult circumstances at present and I want to commend the work of the many charitable organisations who are working on the front line to bring what comfort and relief they can.’ I’ve always loved eating cheese when I’ve had a case of the blues. When I was fired, I went straight for a kilo of cheddar and my future already felt like it was already starting to look rosier. So when Irish agriculture ministerBrendan Smith revealed that poor families in Ireland would be distributed with 53 tonnes of cheddar cheese thanks to an EU-funded initiative of 750, 000 euros, I almost dropped everything to move to Dublin. After all there’s no better way of boosting the morale of the same people who, in August 2010, suffered the highest unemployment rate (13.6%) in the last fifteen years.
Cheese versus social peace
Then there it was: the British and Irish press mocking poor Mr. Cheddar Smith because his press release announcing ‘working on the frontline to bring what comfort and relief they can to those in need, especially as the Christmas season approaches’ was identical to the one from the year before. I felt even more sorry for this politician whose end of year plans ended up cheesing people off instead of abating them. On 15 November, the poor families of Dublin, Waterford and Cork can start making claims to the agriculture ministry to pick up their ration of what king Henry II claimed to be the ‘best British cheese’.
The wily Brendan Smith hasn’t forgotten how after the Irish famine (1845 - 1849), criticism rained down on the United Kingdom after the rich empire didn’t take its finger out when its catholic neighbours were dying of hunger. Should the Irish economic crisis launch a new famine this time around, we absolutely must preserve our relations with the English government. That’s where the idea of munching kilos of British cheese from the ripe pastures of the town it’s named after, Cheddar, comes from. Will this orgy help the country to avoid calling upon the international monetary fund (IMF) for aid, as many observers dread? For that eventual scene of reconciliation with their British neighbours, here is a scones and cheddar recipe to be consumed at teatime.
Recipe: cheddar scones
• 60g cheddar • 250g flour • 40g oatmeal • 60g melted butter • one egg • 15cl milk • 1 teaspoon of mustard • 1 tablespoon of yeast • Salt and pepper
1. Finely cut the cheddar
2. Mix the flour, yeast, oatmeal and butter in a salad bowl – make the mixture more gritty by using the tips of your fingers
3. Add the rest of the ingredients
4. Create a dough, cover it with clingfilm and leave refrigerated for an hour
5. Preheat the oven to 180°C. On a floured surface roll out the dough out to a 1cm layer. Cut the shapes out with a cutter or drinking glass
6. Form scones on fresh sheet of parchment paper and pop in over for around fifteen minutes until the biscuits are golden. Allow to cool before serving