Pass the Corned beef and Cabbage!

23 Jul

Pass the Corned beef and Cabbage!  Before I came to Ireland I thought every restaurant I passed was going to be serving corned beef and cabbage, potatoes, and lots of beer.  In fact corned beef and cabbage is not traditionally Irish at all, however bacon and cabbage is.  I was surprised to see that the food in Ireland is a lot more diverse then I thought it would be.  There are many misconceptions about traditional Irish food.  One misconception in Irish cooking is that whiskey is added to everything. Truth is whiskey is rarely used in traditional Irish cooking.   The Irish people would rather drink it then cook with it.  Guinness on the other hand is used in many stews and marinades.  However this does not generally make it an Irish dish it may just make it taste better. 

The Irish traditional cuisine is a peasant cuisine.  In the past few Irish households ate beef.  That was a more wealthy dish.  Many people ate pig and said to eat every part of it except for the grunt.  Irish breakfasts are very popular and traditional which include many parts of the pig such as pork sausages, bacon rashers and black pudding (another type of blood sausage).  Bacon had become a very important part of the Irish diet due to the fact that in the past when there was no refrigeration instead of always eating the pig fresh they would cure it and salt it. 

The wet warm weather during Irish summers really makes for a great berry season.  Wild blackberries, rosehips, and wild strawberries are very abundant during this time.  Along the shoreline many mussels, crabs, shrimps, and clams are found.  All these ingredients are found in traditional Irish dishes as well. 

The potato is the most important ingredient in the Irish diet.  It once saved the Irish and then almost destroyed them.  Although people do not depend on them like they used to, rarely will a dish in a restaurant exclude a potato in the dish. 


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