Darina Allen's volume on Irish Traditional Cooking
“Writing it has been a labour of salvage as well as one of love.”
So writes Darina Allen in her introduction to Irish Traditional Cooking. First published nearly 20 years ago, the blurb on the front cover tells you that this newly released edition includes over 100 new recipes, which is all well and good, except for the fact that, when they say new, I really rather think they mean old. For this book is all about old Irish recipes and ways with Irish food that, to a greater or lesser extent, had fallen into neglect in recent decades, as traditional cooking and true home economy had given way, first, to the lure of new-fangled shop-bought bread and later, to the convenience of a growing number of packaged and processed foods. We are learning to appreciate some of these traditional food ways again, however – “even as half the country is living on pre-cooked foods from garage foodcourts, there is a deep craving among growing numbers of people for forgotten flavours and fresh local foods,” says Darina – so a re-publication of this volume is timely.
My friend and fellow potato enthusiast, Dave Langford, is in the habit of sending potato-related snippets my way. The latest to hit my inbox was this little snapshot which, needless to remark, brought a smile to my face:
It also prompted the creation of a suitably spudly breakfast dish (because I am, in matters potato, nothing if not predictable).
My Indian potato pancake, otherwise known as breakfast
I have never been a fan of early morning airport starts (well, who is?), but as I coaxed myself out of bed at an unreasonable hour this very chilly a.m., there were two things that helped:
1. some honest-to-goodness porridge, breakfast of champions – I have Flahavan’s to thank for what seems to be a never-ending supply of same
Flahavan's latest: their multi-seed porridge with pumpkin and hemp seeds, among others
2. a destination promising significantly more than porridge – with the reward for my early rise being a visit to Wales and a place at the table for their True Taste national food awards
Naturally, I will report back in due course – I don’t doubt but that it will turn out to be one of those things that was well worth getting out of bed for.