“It’s like Marmite,” said one of the judges, “people either love it or hate it.”
Coddle, that is. Rare ould Dublin coddle. And the judges in question – myself, food and wine writer Leslie Williams and Sunday Business Post editor Gillian Nelis – had been called upon to adjudicate at what was surely a rare ould Dublin event: a Coddle Cook Off.
For those who don’t yet know enough about the dish to either love or hate it, coddle is a one-pot, throw-it-together wonder. Sausages, rashers, onions and spuds, left to simmer together on the stove for hours of a Saturday evening, becoming post-pub grub for the household’s imbibers. Perhaps it’s the idea – and the anaemic look – of boiled sausages that puts people off coddle. Why boil when you can sear and sizzle, eh? And yet, as the entries in last week’s coddle competition in Temple Bar showed, a brothy boiled sausage is no bad thing.
The competition – which raised €1000 for Epilepsy Ireland – was the brainchild of Kevin O’Toole of Chameleon and Pádraic Óg Gallagher of Gallagher’s Boxty House, and was held in conjunction with the inaugural Temple Bar Taste Trail – where punters could sample bites from any one of 10 Temple Bar restaurants – during the Temple Bar TradFest.
All’s jovial with the Coddle Cook Off Chefs before competition begins
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
Here’s the thing. Send me abroad – to Australia, say – and, on top of the thousands of miles it’ll take me to get there, I’ll travel hundreds, or perhaps thousands more in order to explore the country’s furthest reaches.** Here in Dublin, however, what with the day-to-day business – and busy-ness – of living, there are plenty of must-see items on my doorstep that must, it seems, remain decidedly unseen.
Certainly, if I were in almost any other part of the world, I’d be first in the queue for any kind of food-led tour. Here at home, while I’d known about the Dublin Tasting Trail for quite some time, it wasn’t until I happened to talk to Eveleen Coyle, one of the founders of Fabulous Food Trails, that I took up an invitation to join one of their city-based walking and tasting tours. When it came down to it, it was an easy sell, requiring only that I swap my normal Saturday morning routine for a two and a half hour food-focused jaunt around the city centre. Done and deal were the words that sprang to mind.
** Needless to remark, if anyone would
like to send me to Australia, that would be bonza
and I can start packing now…
Going on a food trail? You'll want a guide who knows their onions (and their garlic too).