My cup, or should I say, my dinner plate, runneth over.
I had the pleasure, yesterday, of enjoying my second all-potato menu in as many weeks (and yes, I know what you’re thinking – some gals just have all the luck).
The occasion was a cookery demonstration given by Pádraic Óg Gallagher at Gallagher’s Boxty House as part of this weekend’s Temple Bar Trad Fest, and the subject, naturally enough, was boxty, the traditional potato speciality that gives the restaurant its name. And Pádraic, who has run The Boxty House for some 23 years, knows more than most about boxty. His making of boiled, baked and pan versions of same (which have featured on these pages before) was accompanied by a potted history of the spud in Ireland and elsewhere. For the lunch which followed the demo, you could, if you so desired, indulge in boxty for starter, main course and dessert (and for those who persist in thinking that you shouldn’t put potato and dessert in the same sentence, let alone on the same plate, all I can say is don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it).
Boxty on the menu - it's almost as versatile as the spud itself
Several of my work colleagues, it seems, are off the jar for January (meaning, for those unfamiliar with that particular turn of phrase, that they are giving alcohol a miss for the month). One did confess, though, to having fallen off the wagon the other day by way of a mid-week glass of wine and, like any forbidden fruit, it was all the sweeter for that. Now, several days later, I can’t say if that conversation was what prompted me to (a) buy a bottle of white wine or (b) add a glass of same to these potatoes, but it might just have been a factor. What I can tell you is that the potatoes are, without doubt, all the better for the addition.
For some reason, it was the cause of much mirth amongst my work colleagues when I mentioned that, as part of my general spud research, I was meeting the president of the Irish Potato Federation for lunch (an organisation of wholesalers, importers and exporters of potatoes and whose members together handle around 75% of the potato trade in Ireland).
I suspect that the sniggerati’s mental image of two potato heads lunching may have had a certain cartoonish quality to it. I had to laugh myself, really. What was once a vegetable is now a vocation – I have become The Daily Spud and this is the kind of thing I do.
An all-potato menu at The Clarence