“Just because you work for Tayto doesn’t mean you know potatoes, or tomatoes or tomaytoes,” said a man from County Clare.

From Pat Quinn’s “The Great Potato Feud”

So runs a line from the song “The Great Potato Feud” by Pat Quinn of Inis Oírr, which describes a late night bar scene with much heated, and inebriated, debate on the matter of the best potato.

It is, as Rónadh Cox** pointed out in her article in the journal Gastronomica, “a very funny song… above all funny because the idea of a pack of Irishmen quarreling about potato varieties seems ridiculous – but not impossible.”

** I must declare some interest here – Rónadh is my cousin and writing about potatoes, it seems, a family preoccupation.

I was reminded of the song because I had the pleasure of meeting Darra Goldstein this week, Editor in Chief of the aforementioned Gastronomica, who was in Dublin at the DIT School of Culinary Arts & Food Technology to deliver the keynote address at the inaugural Dublin Gastronomy Symposium. It seems a terribly grand title – and it was in the nature of the event that the papers presented were necessarily academic and, at times, esoteric – but at its heart was a group of people, brought together by a committee chaired by Dr. Máirtín Mac Con Iomaire, and whose interests, though diverse, centered on food – that which nourishes and enables us all to simply be.

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