John McCullagh December 31, 2005
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With over-indulgence, you may well be suffering from stomach problems. So the following useful cure offered by our regular reader Francie Byrne is timely.

‘My great-great grandfather apparently had a cure for stomach troubles. Here is an extract about him as published in the Rathfriland Outlook about the year 1940.

A Canadian doctor is reported to have hit upon a remedy which mainly consists in hollowing out a turnip, filling it with brown sugar and then boiling it. The patient afterwards eats the sugar which has absorbed the turnip juices.

A Rathfriland man was long ago using a method similar in its essentials for treating stomach troubles.  Mr Daniel Byrne, a Drumlough (Rathfriland) resident who survived to an advanced age was in the habit of preparing a dish that gave him the full healing benefit of turnip juices.

First of all he skinned a large turnip and put it in a small pot with a very small quantity of water. He allowed the turnip to boil into pulp before thoroughly mashing it up in the little water that remained. He added neither pepper and salt nor any other flavouring matter but ate the turnip warm, generally before retiring for the night. He had great faith in the dish’s efficacy and the latest reports from the medical world seem to bear out this belief.”

I am minded myself, especially at this time of year, of my own earlier predilection with the same dinner vegetable. Our youngest son (named Steven, rather appropriately) mistimed his entry to this world so badly that our other four had to endure the long Christmas holiday with Dad as ‘chief cook and bottle-washer’. Having been reared myself in more straightened times, I was (and remain) loathe to waste food. The fact that my children didn’t like turnip merely served to prolong the number of days that one turnip continued to be served at the dinner table.

As adults now, they continue to refer disparagingly, in the hearing of anyone prepared to listen, to Dad’s ‘turnip sandwiches’!

As if!!

You never hear them thank me for freeing them from the perennial adult complaint of indigestion!

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