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In a message dated 27/04/2008 01:32:41 GMT Daylight Time,  
[log in to unmask] writes:

The  definition I gave is from the OED.  It said nothing about Liverpool, but 
 I wonder if that is where sailors often set off from?  I imagine in  
Heaney's context it must mean the stew  though.
Nancy



and see the infamous but oft-useful pages of
s
_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scouse_(food_ 
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scouse_(food) )
 
 
- seems not a lot different from traditional staple working class fare  
everywhere that manifested in such dishes as Irish Stew in that land; Lancashire  
Hot Pot in that northern english county and Tatie Pot in Cumberland / The Lake  
District.
 
(there are some quirks on this theme arising from my own locality where the  
colliers of one town were disparaged and forever known as 'jam eaters' because 
 stereotypically that was all they could afford to put in their packed 
lunches  [aka 'bait'] for down the mine. Moreover, a particular work site where I 
once  was employed was known locally as 'Drybread' because that was all that the 
 hapless employees of that place could afford to eat.
 
Gastronomically
 
David