noun: sour milk that has thickened or curdled
When Grandma was a little girl, one of her jobs was to feed the bonnyclabber to the chickens.
“Robert Hale of Beverly, Massachusetts, washed up at the Cyr place in 1731. After a meal of bonnyclabber (a curdled milk dish akin to yogurt), fish, soup, and bread, he witnessed ‘some of the Family on their Knees paying their Devotions to the Almighty.'” — From Christopher Hodson’s 2012 book The Acadian Diaspora
Did you know?
In Irish Gaelic, “bainne clabair” means “thickened milk.” In English, the equivalent word is “bonnyclabber.” Whether or not this bonnyclabber is “the bravest, freshest drink you ever tasted” (as the English Earl of Strafford enthused in 1635) or “would make a hungry parson caper” (to quote English poet Thomas Ward in 1716), it has been a part of country folks’ diets for many a year. Today, you might see “bonnyclabber” as a recommended substitute for buttermilk in a recipe for Irish soda bread (complete with directions for making your own bonnyclabber). The American version of bonnyclabber, brought to U.S. shores by Scotch-Irish immigrants, often goes one step further in the thickening process to produce something more akin to cottage cheese.