This is another tail from long ago, when we were impoverished students spending the summer at Ballachrink farmhouse. When the weather is too bad to get the boat out, we live on beer and potatoes.
A diet of potatoes does get tedious, and we begin to look hungrily at the hens in the barn. It would not be fair to eat one of the laying hens, but surely the farmer will not miss one of the many unproductive roosters?
We target a large but tatty old rooster. He is wily and fast and proves impossible to catch, so we shoot him with our borrowed .22. It takes nine bullets to kill him, showing what a tough bird he was.
We pluck and dress the rooster, but are unsure how to cook him. We seek the advice of a Manx friend, who gives us the traditional Manx recipe.
Put the rooster in a large saucepan with stock, potatoes and vegetables. Add salt, pepper and herbs to taste. Finally add a one inch steel nut. Simmer gently, adding more stock as required. Check the steel nut periodically. When the nut starts to go soft, the rooster is ready to eat.
We give it a try, but the nut stays hard and the rooster is inedible. Potatoes for dinner again!