The Daily Spud

...there's both eatin' and drinkin' in it

Spud Sunday: Boxty On The Menu

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 House Menu

Boxty on the menu - it's almost as versatile as the spud itself

For good measure, the event – which was mostly attended by visitors of the non-Irish variety – included a helping of soda bread making and the pouring of a few Irish coffees, and Pádraic hopes that these demos may become a regular feature at the restaurant during the summer months. If, as a result, some tourists leave the country with the urge to make boxty, then that is no bad thing. If some natives were to discover its charms (as I first did here), then so much the better. It doesn’t, I think, need to be made because it’s traditional or Irish, but because it is simply a very good thing to eat.

Padraic Og Gallagher

Pádraic Óg Gallagher talks boxty
under the watchful gaze of the Sacred Heart

As if the boxty demo wasn’t enough excitement for one day, I also found myself on Catriona Mulcahy’s weekend talk programme on Spin South West radio yesterday, talking about this week’s other piece of spud news, which was the granting of EU Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status to a potato grown in Co. Down, the Comber Early (more about which you can read here). What it boils down to is that the name Comber Early can now only be given to potatoes grown in the fields around the Co. Down village of Comber, which enjoy a particular microclimate suited to the growing of potatoes which are ready to lift as early as May. I can’t say that I’ve had the pleasure of eating a Comber Early myself – and I’ll have to wait several months before I can do so – but I’ll make sure to report in full when I do.

7 Comments

  1. And a very tasty lunch it was too, what with the glass of white (sauvignon blanc?)and the convivial conversation. More of that please! :)

  2. Daily Spud

    Sunday, January 29, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Yes indeed, sauvignon blanc it was, and with some very good (and very musically endowed) company to boot! In fact, there could be a whole other blog post on the Sean-Cannon-back-stage-cooking aspect of things…

  3. Not sure how I’ve managed to NOT try boxty after nearly two years of living in Ireland but this post has inspired me – I MUST TRY BOXTY AND RIGHT QUICK! :)

  4. Hey – I managed to live here for most of my life without trying boxty, Clare, so you’re not alone! I must make some for ya :)

  5. An all-spud menu? Sign me up! I don’t know if I’ll ever forgive myself for not going to Gallagher’s when we had the chance… Looks like I’ll have to plan another visit during the summer months. The Philippines could use a littel exposure to boxty and I’d be happy to volunteer! 8-)

  6. You need to come back for another visit TN and I’ll be happy to accompany you to Gallagher’s and lots more places besides when you do :) I think I might also need to go to the Philippines to help you with your boxty mission there!

  7. That looks that you had fun that evening! A very interesting event! :)
    There is indeed a lot of potato on the menu! Glad it isn’t in the desserts!;)

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