That the Welsh have always loved their toasted cheese, we have verified from an English insult related by Andrew Boorde, writing in 1542 (as quoted in Hartley):
Fynde wryten amonge old jestes how God made St. Peter porter of heven. And that God of his goodness suffred many men to come to the kyngdome with small deservyng. At which tyme, there was in heven a grete company of Welchmen with they rekrakynge and babelynge trobled all the others. Wherefore God says to St. Peter that he was wery of them and he would fayne have them out of heven. To whome St. Peter sayde, “Goode Lorde, I warrent you that shall be shortly done.” Wherefore St. Peter went outside of heven gayts and cryd with a loude voyce, “Cause Babe! Cause Babe,” that is as moche to say, ‘Rosty'd chese!’ Which thynge the Welchmen herying ran out of heven a grete pace...And when St. Peter sawe them all out he sodenly went into Heven and lokkyd the dore! and so aparyd all the Welschmen out!This also shows that the Welsh pronounciation of ‘Caws Pobi’ was heard as “Cause babie” by the Saxon ear at the time.
We prefer barley loaves to white here for authenticity. Barley for baking was popular in Devon, Wales, and Cornwall, and is still widely used today in the north and west, not just in bannocks and porridges, but throughtout Welsh cookery (see David and Hartley). Note the inclusion of a handful of barley in the Cawl ffa.
If you can find it and afford it, use a good, sharp farmhouse cheddar, not the mass-produced stuff. And under no circumstances may you use flourescent American mustard. If you refuse to make your own potent British-style mustard, at least use a Dijon.
First served: Beltane 1993
Last modified: © February 1995