Debbie Malone Smith
Passionate foxhunters appreciate the thrill of the hounds at work and, as importantly, the sport’s centuries’ old tradition and pageantry. Food is of course, a part of the tradition.
When I was a child, nothing was more important on our refrigerator door than the fixture card for the hunt. I remember its heavy stock with a crimson fox mask staring at me seductively. My father, resplendent in his pinks, and I would load up his hunt horse and my incorrigible pony into the van and head out. After a challenging day, usually spent arguing with said pony over remaining in the junior field, we would head home with frozen fingers and toes. After tending to the horses with a warm mash, we headed to the house with appetites that only a great day in the field can produce.
One memorable meal came from a Scottish family friend. Mince & Tatties, as the dish is known in Scotland, is a humble, yet gorgeous potato-crusted pie dating back to the 1700s. It was likely created by frugal housewives looking for different ways to serve leftover meat to their families on the British Isles and throughout Ireland. Mince & Tatties, or Shepherd’s Pie as it is known in England, originated in the north of England and Scotland where there are large numbers of sheep.
I have tweaked it a bit to make it guest friendly. It can be part of a buffet or done in individual ramekins for portability. It is very satisfying, warming and delicious – any time. Happy Hunting!