You may notice that today, for a change, I am about meat and not potatoes.
I started reading Rachel Laudan’s Cuisine & Empire the other day. It is, as the title might suggest, epic in range, tracking the spread of key cuisines across the globe in what is a broad, sweeping history of cooking.
A book to sink your teeth into:
Rachel Laudan’s Cuisine & Empire
A dense, scholarly tome – think small fonts, few pictures, and reams of references – it’s not what you’d necessarily want to skim through over your morning cornflakes but, to be honest, its solidity and substance make a change from the day-to-day scatter of information delivered and consumed in tweets and sound bites. And despite ranging across countries far and centuries wide, it brought to mind something closer to home – a visit I made in December to Higgin’s Butchers in Sutton.
Wheat-and-Meat on Dublin’s Northside:
Higgins Butchers and Il Valentino Bakery
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.
Places everybody. Parade coming through. A veritable feast of food and drink inspired by that most Irish of holidays, St. Patrick’s Day, is coming your way.
Yes, you’ll find a heap of soda bread amongst the parade participants and, yes, you’ll also see a distinct fondness for the combination of beef and Guinness (in fact, Guinness plus just about anything), but there are a few less-than-traditional surprises in there too – coconut faux-tatoes anybody?
Click on the links below to jump straight to your favourite parade floats or just browse the lot while sipping a cup of tea or perhaps a pint of the black stuff, given the day that’s in it. The running order includes:
– A Drinks float to kick things off.
– A jam-packed Soda Bread float.
– Potatoes, who, naturally, get a float all to themselves.
– A float with Starters and Side Dishes, mainly featuring the use of green vegetables.
– There’s a dedicated Beef and Guinness float.
– Quickly followed by a float which hosts plenty of non-beefy ideas for The Main Course.
– There is, of course, a float chock-a-block with Sweet Stuff for afters.
– And we round things off with a Cheese float.
I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who participated. As is a Spud’s wont, I have been humbled by the response. Now, if you’re sitting comfortably, let the parade begin!
(image from sweetlifebake.com)