What, do you suppose, is the collective noun most appropriately applied to a set of newly acquired cookbooks?
An anticipation perhaps, or an expectation – it is those things to begin with. As their numbers rise – and certainly once it approaches double digits – it becomes more of a saturation – perhaps even an impossibility – as you realise that their sheer numbers may defeat you.
I have been watching the pile of newly published and Irish-authored cookbooks grow steadily on my kitchen table, especially over the last month or two – Gill & Macmillan having been kind enough to send review copies of several recently published titles, added to a slew of acquisitions at book launches and elsewhere, many written by friends and fellow bloggers and writers – not to mention others that I have flicked through and (somehow) resisted acquiring. Here follows a run down for anyone in the mood to expand their own collection (though perhaps not all at once).
The description, in the Irish Beef Book, of the eye of the round, tells us that it is the shape of this cut that gives it its alternative designation – namely ‘salmon’ of beef. There is also a note about the champion Irish racehorse “said to have been named after the inevitable, unchanging main course choices offered to guests at functions held in Dublin’s Burlington Hotel.” It is perhaps no small irony, in the light of the horse meat scandal earlier this year, that ‘Beef or Salmon‘ was the name of that noted steed.
I do tire of spud-bashing.
In the healthy eating context, I mean.
All too often, potatoes end up on the wrong side of the whats-good-for-you conversation, as things that we need to eat less of, or seek alternatives to. They are, perhaps, the victims of the extreme success with which they marry with butter and cheese and a great many other fats. From Joel Rubuchon’s legendary butter-laden potato purée to your everyday bag of crisps, it seems that spuds provide a highly accessible parking spot for additional calories.
But potatoes themselves are not the source of this excess and – as I may have mentioned once or twice before – they make for quite a tidy nutritional package. What’s more, they can play just as well with card-carrying super foods – unregulated as that term may be – as with those apparently fiendish fats (though the fact is that our bodies need a certain amount of those too).
To prove my point, I made some mash. And not just any old mash but one that is probably about as far away as you could get from Joel Rubuchon’s all-butter version (though it does not shun butter entirely). It’s a recipe inspired both by Extreme Greens – Sally McKenna’s wonderful guide to making the most of mineral-rich seaweed, and a book that I have been delving into a lot over the past few months – and by a presentation which Dorcas Barry made at the Savour Kilkenny Foodcamp last month on eating to stay young. That talk featured much that was raw and green and vibrant, just like this mash.
As a toddler, my nephew John was fierce fond of numbers.
Writing or reciting numbers – or arranging magnetic digits on the fridge – was a guaranteed way to soothe almost any of his junior upsets, and it became a well-used tool of the babysitting trade. Not all numbers were equal, however, and John had a particular liking for the number five. Though fours and sixes were all very well, when all other digits failed, a figure of five would draw a smile.
This weekend I, too, had occasion to smile a number five smile, as the 5th of October marked the fifth anniversary of my first ever post, and here I still am, five years – and an awful lot of food – later.