The French are proud of croissants, Americans of burgers, Italian of pasta and pizza… and what about the Irish? Is there something better than potatoes in Ireland?
The traditional Irish cuisine is based generally on simple and cheap ingredients, in order to remind the poor origins of this nation and the times in which buying beef was a luxury. Most of the recipes included two or three simple ingredients: this is food for the poor.
If you sit in a restaurant and on the menu you find some dishes with exotic ingredients (like coconut, apricot or pineapple) you could be sure that you won’t eat a traditional Irish dish, because the previous Irish generations would never use these kinds of ingredients, they were not common, and they were very difficult to obtain!
Instead, you can find a lot of pork dishes: the pig is the king of the traditional Irish recipes! Irish used to eat all the parts of the animal: pig trotters, tripe and drisheen… everything is fine… except for the grunt! The pig is also present in the famous fried Irish breakfast, which always included pork sausages, many bacon slices and the “delicious” black pudding, this is another kind of black sausage.
As you can imagine the traditional Irish breakfast, like the English one, is very fattening and peasantry, but the people are currently still fond of it!
Anyways the piggy has a key rule in the Irish culture not just for his amazing flavour. The killing of the animal represented a moment of sharing and union inside the neighbourhood.
After this I want to get rid of a myth: it is not enough to put Whiskey in a recipe to make an Irish dish! Infact, the Irish don’t usually put Whiskey inside their dishes, they usually prefer to drink it after lunch or dinner. I can say the same about Guinness for cooking: if it’s true that the Irish used Guinness to make stew and marinates then it’s also not true that it’s enough to use beer to have the feeling of eating in Ireland.
At the end, it’s clear that Irish food is not at all focused around potatoes, but it’s undeniable that they are one of the most important ingredients of the traditional cuisine!
Some Irish say that a dinner is not a real dinner without potatoes! You can understand this thinking that there are a lot of differents types of potatoes and each one of them has its particular way to be cooked and served. Also it is not uncommon to find, in the same dishes, for example, two or more kind of potatoes cooked in different ways.
It’s midday, what do you think you will have for lunch? Irish lunch I mean.