#64: Ireland

Tráthnóna Maith! (that’s “good morning” in Gaelic)

In this portion of this week’s love note to food, I would like to update you on my favorite meal of the day: Breakfast. I know I have typically used this prelude to our meal as an update of the goings on in Brovskyland, but honestly, there’s not much new to report on at the moment. I’m dedicating this space to the best meal of the day– I could eat breakfast any time of every day for every meal and be happy as a clam. Give me eggs or give me death! Bacon and sausage are two of the modern marvels of mankind and pancakes and waffles are the dough that binds us together. In all reality, breakfast is the sturdy foundation that we have built the modern cosmos on. It deserves a shout out. It’s varied all over the world, and we’ve gotten to see how some countries like France eats mostly a small breakfast to where some middle eastern countries make this is biggest meal of their day to power through labor intensive work days. It’s coffee, OJ and toast for some Americans and kiddos like everything from cereal to oatmeal. When you stop and think about “breakfast” from quiche to poptarts, it’s really a quilt and a love-song to the diversity of a meal. As a foodie you can’t help but see the beauty in breakfast.

THE DINNER: This week, we took a little trip to another island (after island visits to the Maldives and Singapore last week). We continued this thread to Europe and stopped off in Ireland to see what sort of food trouble we could muster up in the Emerald Isle. Of course when you think of Ireland, you can’t help but take three or four assumptions about food in that country: Lamb stews, potatoes, sausage, more potatoes (and possible cabbage). It’s so far beyond mash and corned beef though. The food culture in Ireland is that of sustainability. They eat what they grow and ranch. They eat heart to sustain a working man’s body. There’s a lot of beauty to be seen in their love and passion to create perfectly crafted alcohol in the form of beer and whiskey. I think many people discount Irish cuisine in the discussion of great food, but it’s creature comforts at it’s best. These people can eat.

We decided to make a dish called “Fisherman’s Pie” which immediately started a dialogue about the lack of recognition Ireland gets for seafood. I mean, it’s an island. They employ fish mongers and fisherman and have hatcheries and yards — yet we hardly think about them eating seafood dishes. Fisherman’s pie combined all the components we would hope in an Irish dish– and it has potatoes to boot. Such is the impact of fishing in Irish culture that every year in Galway the international Galway Oyster Festival is held. The dish this week has everything you could want: mushrooms, shrimp, potatoes and as a nightcap salute we of COURSE had to make Irish Coffee. I can’t express to you the love affair between whiskey and coffee, because words don’t do it justice. I will tell you, it’s a close second place to my favorite coffee additive (as an daughter of an Italian mother, we worship amaretto in our java).

Fisherman’s Pie Recipe: http://cookingwithcurls.com/2014/03/10/fishermans-pie-food-world-ireland/
Traditional Irish Coffee Recipe: http://www.nutmegnanny.com/2015/03/13/traditional-irish-coffee/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: TWO STARS out of five this meal!
Whenever you need to make a rue, I truly believe that up’s your difficulty points considerable. You don’t want to make it too quickly because it scorches the flour. If you make it too fast, it gets lumps and doesn’t thicken properly. It’s a tango of timing. My mom makes this look easy as dumping a pre-made jar of sauce in a pan– so it’s not really a fair comparison; though I think generally speaking this meal falls at a two or maybe even three star for hardness. You have a lot of moving parts with this one: baking the fish, sauteing the shrimp and mushrooms, mashing to potatoes and then the layering of it all with the rue. It’s complex. But it wasn’t challenging. As far as our bonus dessert went, that was a half star- you pour two ingredients into a mug and top with whip cream… and promptly float away to heaven.

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE STARS out of five for Meal!!
I think the term thrown around was “Home Run Weekend” for how this meal was received. We all immediately said nothing after biting into this one, and the next things that all spilled out of our mouths was “FIVE. FIVE STARS.” If I’m able to paint this picture this fish was steamed in white wine (not cooking wine either– real wine) and then you put shrimp and mushrooms on it which vastly improves anything you put them on– soak it in cream sauce from the drippings and then smother the whole business in mashed potatoes… and let it bake. I think if you listen you can hear angels singing. It was really hearty too– as someone who typically goes back for more, I was stuffed. It was rib sticking and warm. Followed by a cup of traditional Irish coffee, it was like a hug from the inside. The best part of the coffee, apart from the whiskey, was the tablespoon of brown sugar. You know that nanny that always sang about “A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down…” yeah, it was just the case in point on this one. It was wonderful how the brown sugar cut the whiskey and bitterness of the coffee– also, I took a close up of the wonderful melting thing the whipped cream does.

After a great Irish meal and a suprise bonus Irish drink, we say goodbye to the island nations for a spell and take up #65 back in Africa in the country of Togo! Togolese food looks like it’s going to be just as hearty from the recipes, and potentially spicy!

Cheers to Irish Coffee and AW195S being a great culinary compass!
– L & K

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2 thoughts on “#64: Ireland

  1. Pingback: #115: Panama | Around the World in 195 Sundays

  2. Pingback: #137: El Salvador | Around the World in 195 Sundays

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