Sometimes it takes a foreigner to capture the truth about a nation:
Ireland … isn’t exactly the sexiest country in the world … constant gray skies, cool temperatures and an obsession with one of nature’s homeliest vegetables….
Ouch. Harsh but true.
By tradition, we, like our food, are more hearty and plain than delicate and fancy. We are bacon and cabbage and boiled potatoes. We are soda bread, apple tart and the ubiquitous cup of tea. We are the food that you go to your Mammy’s house for. But when we eat out, we generally look to foreign cuisines for something a little outside of our Irish selves.
Perhaps, to my shame, that’s the reason why, in all my years of living in Dublin, I had managed, until now, to avoid darkening the door of Gallagher’s Boxty House. With its traditional Irish menu and diddly-eye music, it sat firmly in my “just for tourists” category.
Gallagher's Boxty House, Temple Bar
It was one of those moments when you try something new and you know what the joy of good food is.
So said resident sis after we had practically inhaled a lunch of mildly sweet and delicate gravad lax from Kinvara Smoked Salmon (proving that you don’t have to be famous to get quoted on this blog, but it does help if you’re related).
She’s in good company as far as her opinion of Kinvara’s smoked salmon goes. Nigel Slater and Jeffrey Steingarten are among the noteworthy food writers who have had kind words to say on that particular subject. Having worked my way through the samples very kindly sent to me, I can’t say that I would object to finding any of them on my plate (though the gravad lax remains a particular favourite).
Pressies from Kinvara Smoked Salmon
“I like to eat my food, not smell it.”
My 18 year old niece was objecting to the liberal application of herbs on food of any kind.
Rosemary she found particularly objectionable. “Makes things taste all planty”, says she. Well yes, I suppose it would.
I think I can safely say that it not had not occurred to me that a “planty” taste was something to avoid. I forget that copious amounts of herbage may not be to everyone’s taste, being firmly of the opinion that a handful of fresh herbs can do a lot to enhance most things. Like potatoes.
My very own parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme