Today is Saint David’s Day, Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant, in Wales and small girls are dressed in a traditional Welsh costume with a daffodil corsage, small boys are put into Welsh rugby shirts with a leek corsage and copious Welsh Cakes are eaten. For aeons these have been baked on a griddle or bakestone, maen in Welsh. Pice ar y maen translates as cakes on the stone and this method of cooking is shared by all the Celtic nations. There is another version, substituting grated apple for dried fruit and cinammon for mixed spice and these are called Tinker’s Cakes (Teisennau Tincar). I made some a while back and drew them.
Here’s three-year old me, in my Welsh costume, traditional Welsh flannel which was very itchy as I remember. There are two types of hat – the more common stovepipe hat that I’m wearing and the smaller black straw bonnet that we called the Cockle hat, after the cockle women who used to sell seafood from large baskets on street corners, like in this famous portrait by Evan Walters.
I can just remember one of the cockle women selling on the corner outside the Lower Lamb pub on Swansea’s High Street on a Saturday morning. My dad would pop over to buy some cockles and laverbread (a Welsh seaweed delicacy) and cook us a Welsh breakfast with bacon and eggs, the cockles fried till they popped in the hot bacon fat and the laverbread turned into the cockly bacony grease to warm through.