The Parritch Luggie – September 1907

An article in Country Life last week recalled to my mind the wooden bowls I have seen used in farm kitchens in my childhood. There was the meal-bowl placed on the wide hob every morning and evening, from which the meal was taken and “strinkle’t” in the parritch-pat. There was a bowl of similar size and shape in which the meal was mixed for the oatcakes. I have heard of, but do not remember having seen, the “boyne” or wooden “knittie” in which the dishes were washed. There were the milk-luggies, whose “girs” were “scoort” till they shone like silver.

These luggies were used till quite recently and, as I began to write these notes I wondered whether in some places they had been displaced by modern pails. And although only a few months ago I was standing in an Ayrshire byre whose every buis’ (stone stall) has been familiar to me farther back than I can remember, and watched the milkers at work, so unobservant am I that I cannot at all recall what sort of pail they held between their knees! Surely the selfsame, familiar luggies.

There is another wooden vessel of which I have heard, but scarcely hope ever to see and that is the “wean’s “ parritch-luggie,” a diminutive luggie, the exact counterpart of the large milking pail, from which the child supped its porridge with its own horn spoon. I have been told that it possessed many virtues unknown to modern enamel. Not only was it unbreakable and “unchippable” but the child could sit on a stool and sup his porridge, his left hand holding the upright handle of the luggie.

I have often noticed the difficulty a young child has in catching the handle of a mug or cup. The reason is that he grasps with the palm or, rather, with the whole hand, and not with the fingers, and modern handles (of crockery) made for the grasp of fully developed fingers. Perhaps some of my readers may possess a parritch-luggie, an heirloom from their grandmother. The picture of the wooden stoup has suddenly flashed upon my mind’s eye. It is long since I have seen one, with its cross bar of wood. There used to be one in our home. I always associated it with drinking water, so I suppose it was used to bring water from the well.

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