“Before long it becomes hard to imagine doing much of anything for ourselves — anything, that is, except the work we do ‘to make a living.’ For everything else, we feel like we’ve lost the skills, or that there’s someone who can do it better.”
Though Micheal Pollan might, I think, have missed the news about this weekend’s Grandmothers’ Day events at Sandbrook House in Ballon, Co. Carlow, I suspect, reading the extract from his forthcoming book, that he would have approved.
The extract paints a dizzying picture of an economic world, spinning ever faster on an axis of relentless specialisation, a process which, at the same time, binds us in a tourniquet of learned helplessness and leaves us hopelessly disconnected from the origins of our food. He articulates the case for loosening those bonds, “making visible again many of the lines of connection” with our greater food system through the medium of cooking (or equally, one might infer, through practising the many other food skills with which our forebears were familiar).
And it is that reclaiming of lost skills and passing on of inherited wisdom that underlie both yesterday’s Slow Roots symposium and today’s Slow Food Ireland family event at Grandmothers’ Day. It seems appropriate, then, to introduce you to winter buttermilk, one old way with food that I have recently discovered, and one which is, to my mind, well worth remembering.
The thing about winter buttermilk is that it is not, in fact, buttermilk at all.
What’s more is that, despite what its name might lead you to believe, winter buttermilk has a dairy content of precisely zero, containing neither butter nor milk nor moo nor cow, but flour and water and – perhaps somewhat inevitably, given my well-documented obsession – spuds. It also (and this is the important thing) makes for a damn fine loaf of soda bread.
The trouble with designing a pizza, or perhaps the beauty of it, is that there’s just so much choice.
Like a painter who has no subject before them to guide their work, the pizza creator is limited only by imagination – and, one hopes, a good sense of taste – in choosing the canvas, colours and textures of their design.
So it was that I found myself pondering endless possibilities for the latest five star makeover mission, to spruce pizza up with our own particular brand of spit and polish. Bewildered somewhat by the choices, I did, in the end, what I often do – I lead my pizza down an Irish road.
This pizza may look like an Italian favourite, but it's got lots of Irish flavour
The Paddy’s Day Food Parade is back, folks, and, once again, the floats are heaving with edible delights to help you celebrate the Irish national holiday. Soda bread is as popular as ever this year, as is the combination of beef ‘n’ Guinness, while ice cream, with occasionally surprising ingredients, gets a float all to itself this time ’round. Needless to remark, you’ll find potatoes almost everywhere you look, as is only right and proper.
Click on the links below to zoom directly to your favourite parade floats or browse at your leisure. For your delectation, we have:
– A Drinks float to get you started.
– A Breakfast float, because you’ll be needing some soakage after that early drink.
– A Soda Bread float, because you can never have enough of the stuff.
– There’s a Starters And Sides float to whet your appetite for the dinner to come.
– Moving on to the main course? Try the ever popular Beef ‘n’ Guinness float.
– Beef not your thing? Check out the Meaty Not Beefy float.
– Got room for dessert? There’s a float full of Sweet Stuff right here.
– If you like a bit of cold, creamy dairy goodness, you should skip straight to the Ice Cream float.
– And, finally, when you find yourself with a case of the munchies at the end of the night, the Late Night float is the place to be.
Once again, I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who participated, your efforts are much appreciated. Now, if you’re all quite ready, I’ve got a parade coming through! And if you should have any energy left after the parade, I’m also guest posting over at Boulder Locavore on the topic of St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland, so hop on over here to see what I had to say.
(image from sweetlifebake.com)