stwmp naw rhyw
"mash of nine sorts"
A traditional Welsh divination meal served on Nos Calan Gaeaf (Halloween), particularly popular in Carmarthenshire in the early part of the 20th century.
The mash consists of potatoes, carrots, turnips, peas, parsnips, leeks, pepper, salt and new milk. These are cooked into a sort of mashed cassarole. Into the mash is placed a ring. The girls who made the mash then consume it; the girl to find the ring in her bowl is believed to be married within the year.
The number nine has significance in Celtic folklore, being a number of completion (3x3). However, the meal itself, at least in its documented form, is obviously a modern creation, what with the inclusion of potatoes, a New World food. There may have been an older form of the dish using a different vegetable or root than potatoes, but I haven't found a record of it.
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Mary Jones © 2004