Eating the Idyllic Food of Ireland
Ireland has always been a place that I’ve longed to visit. The green, rolling hills, cobblestone streets, and, of course, the pubs, have been pulling me towards that country for years, and I can only hope that I’ll make my way over there sooner rather than later. For now, I must settle with a lot of research, and a lot of day dreaming.
Irish cuisine is very influenced by the environment: the landscape, weather, and climate all play a large part – and it’s evident in the dishes that define the country. The history has also had a clear impact, notably the Great Irish Famine that began in 1845. In the late 1800s, people began to exchange goods, allowing more of a range in ingredients. The range increased even more when food began to be imported, and though international cuisine is available, the cuisine has stayed very much the same with a few variations over time.
Enter: the potato. The potato is a main ingredient in many Irish dishes, and it always has been. First, it was a necessity – because of the nutritional value – but now it remains a staple. Barley, oats, cabbage, beef, sheep, chicken, and seafood make up a good portion of the remainder of the Irish diet. In farmhouses and very rural areas, different variations of bread were traditionally made on a daily basis – notably Potato Bread, Brown Soda Bread, Wheaten Bread, and Blaa (a type of white roll).
Here’s a list of typical Irish meals: Colcannon (mashed potatoes with garlic and cabbage), Coddle (pork sausage, bacon, potatoes, and onions), Skirts and Kidneys (a stew containing trimmings from pork ribs and backbone, kidneys, onions, and potatoes), Crubeens (boiled pigs’ feet), Irish Breakfast (quite possibly the tastiest breakfast ever – fried eggs, black and white puddings, toast, fried potatoes, fried tomato slices, bacon, and sausage), and Boxty (a type of potato pancake). In general, soups and stews are popular, and most dinners include a type of meat, potatoes, and cabbage.
Of course, I have to mention Guinness – the beer originated in Dublin in 1759, and is still one of the best selling brews in the world. It’s not a drink that everyone likes – but that doesn’t change the fact that the “meal in a glass” is somewhat of an institution. Check out the history of Guinness here.
Next up on Food Freeway: the Recipe of the Week! The cuisine of Ireland is very similar to that of PEI, which is where much of my family is from, so the dishes are very similar to what I grew up on. I can’t wait to pay homage to both my dad’s side of the family and the people of Ireland.
Have you ever been to Ireland? If so, what’s your favourite dish? Do you have a suggestion for next week’s recipe?5 comments