Preparing for tomorrow’s episode of Outlander: The Gathering!
The men of Castle Leoch enjoy a game of Shinty! I love this video, waited all afternoon to find a link to it for you! It kind of reminds me of my youth watching friends play their own battle field version of Rugby! But, then I was raised on Hockey, so I do enjoy a good bit of bloodsport every now and then! I wonder if they played the Shinty before or after the Boar hunting?! What a day, I hope Mrs. Fitz is well prepared with food and drink for everyone!
Shinty (Scottish Gaelic: camanachd, iomain) is a team game played with sticks and a ball. Shinty is now played mainly in the Scottish Highlands, and amongst Highland migrants to the big cities of Scotland, but it was formerly more widespread, being once competitively played on a widespread basis in England and other areas in the world where Scottish Highlanders migrated.
While comparisons are often made with field hockey,, the two games have several important differences. In shinty, a player is allowed to play the ball in the air and is allowed to use both sides of the stick, called a caman, which is wooden and slanted on both sides. The stick may also be used to block and to tackle, although a player may not come down on an opponent’s stick, a practice called hacking. Players may also tackle using the body as long as it is shoulder-to-shoulder.
Shinty is older than the recorded history of Scotland. It is thought to predate Christianity, having come to Scotland with the Gaels from Ireland. Hurling, which is a similar game to shinty, is derived from the historic game common to both peoples which has been a distinct Irish pastime for at least 2,000 years. Shinty/Hurling appears prominently in the legend of Cúchulainn, the Celtic mythology hero. A similar game was played on the Isle of Man known as cammag, a name cognate with camanachd. The old form of hurling played in the northern half of Ireland, called “commons”, resembled shinty more closely than the standardised form of hurling of today. Like shinty, it was commonly known as camánacht and was traditionally played in winter.
The origins of the name shinty are uncertain. There is a theory that the name was derived from the cries used in the game; shin ye, shin you and shin t’ye, other dialect names were shinnins, shinnack and shinnup, or as Hugh Dan MacLennan proposes from the Scottish Gaelic sìnteag. However, there was never one all encompassing name for the game, as it held different names from glen to glen, including cluich-bhall (play-ball in English) and in the Scottish Lowlands, where it was formerly referred to as Hailes, common/cammon (caman), cammock (from Scottish Gaelic camag), knotty and various other names, as well as the terms still used to refer to it in modern Gaelic, camanachd or iomain.
The game was traditionally played through the winter months, with New Year’s Day being the day when whole villages would gather together to play games featuring teams of up to several hundred a side, players often using any piece of wood with a hook as a caman. In Uist, stalks of seaweed were put to use due to a lack of trees. Modern camans are made from several laminates of ash or hickory, which are glued and cut into shape, although one-piece camans were still commonplace until the early 1980s. The ball was traditionally a round piece of wood or bone, sometimes called a cnapag, but soon developed into the worsted leather balls used today.
Besides the Shinty and the Boar hunting, one should not forget just how important the Clan Gathering was in other respects. This was the time for all of the Clan’s members to meet, discuss and make decisions for the entire Clan. I previously did some research on the Scottish Clan system for my own story and I will share it again here as it might help you to understand a bit better just how their Clan system worked. The following link will take you to my post on the history of Scottish Clans. Some of the information is general, and the other part of it is an explanation of the clan history relating to my work on Dunvegan Castle and Clan MacCleod.
The upcoming Clan gathering for the MacKenzie is a crucial turning point for Jamie because he will be forced to make a decision regarding his membership and allegiance to the Clan MacKenzie. I am not going to say anything else on this point out of consideration to those who have not read the books! There are a number of viewers who have not read the books and I don’t want to add too many spoilers here for them!
Now, as to my own preparations for the upcoming Gathering, I am taking it all quite seriously… as well we should! I spent much of last night and today working on the Feasting menu. Much thanks of course, to Theresa and her Outlanderkitchen.com! Her menu suggestion for this week’s episode can be found here: http://outlanderkitchen.com/2014/08/27/roasted-pork-tenderloin-cider-pan-gravy-neeps-tatties/ . I have made a few slight adjustments to it in regards to my own menu. She suggested roast pork tenderloin, but I will be substituting some of our favorite pork bellies from Trader Joe’s! I do still plan to glaze them with the Cider sauce though.
Haaaaa, For some one who seldom drinks anymore, this cooking adventure is causing me to once again stock my shelves with Alcohol… Today’s purchases in preparation for Tomorrow’s feasting! The Cider is for the Cider sauce, the Whisky is for the Atholl Brose- which can also be found at Outlanderkitchen.com http://outlanderkitchen.com/2014/08/20/atholl-brose-outlander-starz-episode-103/ and the wine is the Rhenish Red that I plan to taste test!
Along with the porkbellies and Cider sauce, we will be trying some Clapshot Rosti (clapshot is what you get when you mix potatoes and turnips together! Our family is not so fond of the neeps alone) and some Parsnip Crisps. I could not resist the parsnip crisps as they reminded me of my childhood. Those recipes can be found here at BBC Food Recipes: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/loinofvenisonwithabl_87331
As I mentioned, I will also be attempting the Atholl Brose recipe even though I am not a fan of Whisky… I know, I know, I should probably be banished from the Castle for that! I did find the Dewar’s Highlander Honey and am hoping that this will improve upon the whisky taste? One other thing I am going to try is, a version Cranachan, a Scottish dessert.
You can find information and a recipe for it here: http://www.scottishrecipes.co.uk/cranachanrecipe.htm
Now, after a busy day of shopping and researching, I am ready to go taste test the Rhenish Red Wine!