Monday, March 17, 2014
Irish Cuisine Strength And Sustainability
By now everyone is probably sick of all that corned beef and cabbage as well as anything dyed green.True Irish cuisine is one born from sustainability and hardship.Despite it all the food is flavorful and rich with local meats and produce. Saint Patrick would be proud as well as familiar with today's Irish cuisine.It basically is simple cooking made with very basic ingredients.Gaelic chefs ,such as Kevin Dundon is bringing this kind of sustainable cooking to the rest of the world.For two or three millennia the Irish have been living off the land and sea.Since the Bronze Age, the indigenous have been eating a version of smoked ham as well as roasted pig.By the eighth century,geese, hens and ducks were added to their diet .The Celts landed in Ireland around this time and with them brought baking skills.They were able to grow rye,wheat and barley ,and then used the chaff, grinding it into flour.This was made into a type of griddle cake. .Around this time they also created a mead from fermented honey and water as well as a basic beer made without hops.Cheese was an important part of their diet as was butter and cream.Streams provided them with fish for a bit of variety They foraged for fruits and wild herbs to flavor both main dishes and desserts. Once the potato was introduced in the 1600's,Irish cuisine was forever changed.The spuds were a great source of nutrition and could blend with any ingredient.Both rich and poor used them.Upper class nobles enjoyed potatoes as well as carrots with mutton in Irish stew.Their tenants ate them with milk and cabbage.Surprisingly this diet is rich in proteins and vitamins.Unfortunately the famine came in the 1840's. Locals wound up eating even grass to survive .Luckily the island is ringed with Seaweed and they lived on what's know as carrageen moss.Ireland saw better times in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.A good meal now can include fresh caught salmon or fresh from the farm along with variety of fresh fruit and vegetables. Irish cheese has come into its'own in the last few years ,rivaling its'Continental counterparts. This St .Patrick's Day see Irish cuisine for what it is: a salute to sustain ability .It is a rich and varied one,full of fresh ingredients.It's not anything dyed green .It is a cuisine from a rugged land.