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We’d been havin’ a lecture on cookin’ at eawr guild, an’ after th’ lecturer had gone whoam, we stood i’ groups talkin’ to one another abeawt what hoo’d said. Hoo made no mich acceawnt o’ th’ cookin’ ‘at they t’ach i’ public schoo’s to-day. Hoo said ’at it wur o falder-dal an’ ginger-bread, an’ ther’ wurno’ one on ’em ’at knew heaw to mak’ a mess o’ gradely porritch. It wur no use t’achin’ folks heaw to cook ’at had brass enoof to engage cooks to do th’ wark for ’em, an’ it wur no use t’achin’ folks ’at had to do the’r own cookin’ heaw to mak’ fancy stuff ’at they wouldn’t know heaw to ate when they’d cook’d it, an’ ’at couldn’t afford to waste the’r brass on tarts an’ cracklin’s ’at noather fill’d nor satisfied.

“It would beseem ’em a lot more,” said Alice o’ th’ Ceaw Lone, “if they’d show folks heaw to use up Sunday’s beef so’s to mak’ ea good dinner, an’ have a nice change every day up to Friday.”

Stained glass windows
Memorial windows
in the Unitarian Chapel, Lord Street, Oldham.

“Hear, hear,” coed eawt Sal o’ Ben’s. “My feyther awlus said as Monday’s dinner o’ warm potytos an’ cowd mate wur th’ worst dinner o’ th’ week.”

“Aw wondersheaw mony potyto pies they’d have a week at that price?” ask’d Mrs. Oliver.

“Nay, aw wonder if they known heaw to mak’ one?” said Alice o’ th’ Ceaw Lone.

“Aw dunnot think they do,” onswer’d Sal o’ Ben’s.“ They want a lesson off Selina theer, dunnot they, owd lass?”

“Why, has Selina a special receipt for potyto pies?” inquired several.

“Neawe. Aw dunnot know ’at hoo has,” replied Alice, “but hoo’s had a bit o’ special experience, if hoo’s a mind to tell yo’.”

“Eh, do tell us,” we o’ urged, an’ wi’ a lot o’ persuadin’ Selina began.

“Of course, yo’ o know ’at eawr Dick’s play’d him a good deeol durin’ these slack limes. He hasn’t made a full week these last two ye’rs. In fact, aw dunnot think ’at he’s been mich above a hauve timer durin’ that time. Yo’ may know heaw it’s plagued us awhoam. We’ve a big family o’ little childer, an’ no wage nobbo Dick’s. It’s been hard scrattin’, aw con tell yo’. Talk abeawt beef! It wur as good as a Mayor’s banquet at eawr hause when we could afford a bit o’ New Zealand mutton. But then, aw’m tain to say th’ trade’s mended a bit, an’ Dick’s done a bit moor time, an’ so th’ other Sunday aw thowt awd pleeos booath him an’ th’ childer, an’ umk’ a gradely good potyto pie for th’ dinner. So aw bowt two peaunds o’ English beef an’ ea hit o’ liver an’ ten peaunds o’ potytos. Eh! what a pantymime ther’ wur when aw took that beef i’ th’ heause. Th’ childer doanc’d an’ sheauted an’ waved the’r arms abeawt like Morris Doancers, an’ th’ cat jump’d off th’ couchcheer an’ meawed an’ ran reawnd me, an’ Dick watch’d ’em o, while tears coom in his een, an’ he put his bodyhat on, an’ went eawtside eawt o’ th’ road. Eawr Tummy, th’ owdest lad, wanted to know if he must stop up o neet an’ mind it, chance someb’dy tried to stale it.

“Th’ childer wur up i’ good time on th’ Sunday mornin’, an’ th’ owdest on ’em wanted to stop awhoam fro’ th’ schoo’ to watch me mak’ th’ pie, but they awther’d the’r mind when aw towd ’em ’it wur ‘no schoo’, no pie.’ Dick took th’ y’unger eend on ’em eawt for a walk, but he
d a job to get ’em to go wi’ him. But then, aw could do no good wi’ ’em reawnd me, an’ pooin’ at my skirts o mornin’. When aw’d getten ’em eawt o’ th’ road, aw thrut a smo’ bit o’ th’ beef into th’ backyard, an’ when th’ cat darted after it aw shut th’ dur, an’ had th’ heause to mysel’.

“Aw lost no time i’ gettin’ th’ beef to stew while aw peel’d th’ potytos an’ made th’ pie crust, an’ everything went straightforrad, except when aw wur weshin’ th’ potytos some on ’em s1ipp’d eawt o’th’ can onto th’ slopstone, an’ i’ pikin’ ’em up again aw’m feeart aw geet howd o’ a piece o’ sooap wi’ ’em, an’ put it into th’ dish.

“But aw didn’t know, so aw byet a good foire under th’ oon, an’ went on wi’ my wark, thinkin’ what a good blow eawt we wur beawn t’ have, for sure.

“In awhile my feyther an’ my Uncle Jerry coed to see heaw we wur gettin’ on, an’ to tak’ eawr Sam eawt for a bit of a walk, if he wur willin’. Aw seed ’em sniffin’ an’ lookin’ reawnd when they coom in, but aw thowt nowt on it at th’ time. Aw towd ’em as they’re too lat’, as eawr Sam had gone eawt wi’ th’ childer welly an heaur sin’. An’ aw towd ’em ’at aw wur makin’ a gradely good potyto pie, an’ if they’d a mind to stop a bit they could ha’ some. My feyther, heawever, said as he wurn’t hungry, an’ my uncle said as he’d promised my Aunt Jane ’at he’d be back i’ time for dinner. But o th’ time, see yo’, they kept sniffin’ an’ starin’ as if ther’ wur summat wrang.

“At last my feyther said: ‘Aw’ll tell thee what, wench, this place smells terribly like a laundry. Theau hasn’t been weshin’ on th’ good Sunday, has ta?’

“‘Neawe, I haven’t feyther, an’ what’s moore, aw dunnot intend to do. But if cle’n1iness is next to Godliness, aw think ’at folks had better wesh of a Sunday nor never wesh at o. Folks’ll be sayin’ ’at we munnot cook of a Sunday, th’ next.

“‘Well,’ replied my feyther, ‘if th’y mother’s cooking smelt as sooapy as this o’ thine, aw should say, stop Sunday cookin’. But what’s that ’at’s runnin’ eawt o’ th’ oon, Selina?’

“‘Oh!’ aw said, ‘aw reckon ’at it’s th’ pie ’at’s boilin’ o’er, an’ I oppent th’ oon dur just to give th’ crust a bit of a vent. But what a seet ther’ wur, for sure. Aw couldn’t see th’ pie for suds, an’ they coom rollin’ eawt like a cataract o’ snowballs. Well, see yo’ aw couldn’t tell what to do. Aw’d just mopp’d th’ h’arthstone an’ done it up nicely wi’ pipe-clay, but it wur soon cover’d o’er wi’ suds. See yo’, it wur surprisin’ wheer o’ thoose suds coom fro’. Aw’ve yerd eawr Ben quote poetry sometimes abeawt some big felley, an’ he said—

An’ still the wonder grew
Heaw one smo’ yed could carry o
        he knew.

Well, it wur a marvel heaw that little oon could carry o thoose suds. But then, it didn’t carry ’em. They flow’d eawt an’ cover’t th’ h’arthstone, an’ th’ fire irons, ’at aw’d just sceawer’t, same as if they wur never goin’ to stop.

“‘Theighur!’ said my feyther, ‘what does ta’ coe that, Selina?’

“Well, yo’,known, aw wur reet vex’d, so aw snapped eawt: ‘That’s gravy, an’ if yo’ dunnot stond eawt o’ th’ gate yo’ll get yo’r breeches splesh’d.”

“They took th’ hint an’ piked off, an’ aw geet th’ pie eawt o’ th’ oon as weel as aw could. But it wur spoilt. Aw could ha’ sit me deawn an’ scroikt, see yo, aw felt so hurt, but it wur no use. Aw set to, an’ geet some moore potytos an’ some bacon, an’ made a fryin’ pon full o’ Scotch collops, an’ that’s noane a bad dinner when yo’re hungry.

“I exp1ain’d th’ mishap to Dick when he coom whoam, but he said as aw mustn’t let it trouble me, as misfortunes happened in the best regulated families, an’ aw suppose they do.”

An’ Selina wur reet. 


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