For generations, perhaps scarred by the shared memory of starvation, Irish eating habits were simply about having enough. Food was plain, but plentiful: steaming piles of potatoes, well-boiled vegetables (often home-grown) and meat from the local butcher.
I’ve only managed to go to the cinema twice since Little Missy arrived on the scene, an enormous drop off when compared with the four or five films a week I might go to see when I reviewed films for the RTÉ entertainment website. I used to go see those films during the day, and for free. That was a Very Good Thing – even if the films were bad, and some were really, truly horrendous.
Growing up in a household where Punjabi rotia and English casseroles each had their own places, Vicky Bhogal revels in placing ingredients from different cultures side by side. In the introduction to Flavour, she talks about making the most of imported as well as local foods, explaining her own democratic approach to ingredients. She revels in comforting risotto as much the tartness of tamarind, the garam masala of her Indian childhood used as much as Italian peccorino.
From Burdass-Reared Wold’s lamb to Ampleforth Abbey Apple Tart Tatin, Andrew Pern’s Black Pudding and Foie Gras is as firmly rooted in the food of Yorkshire as his Michelin-stared establishment is embedded in the village of Harome. Andrew’s Star Inn is a 14th century country pub in North Yorkshire which opened 13 years ago. He laughs as he recalls that it all started with just three people – himself in the kitchen, his wife Jacquie working front of house and her mother behind the bar. Now they run a total of seven interlinked businesses in Harome, including self catering cottages, a deli and a butcher’s shop, employing some 120 people.
Great research is the key to Mark Kurlansky’s The Food of a Younger Land. The subtitle – A Portrait of American Food–Before the National Highway System, Before Chain Restaurants, and Before Frozen Food, When the Nation’s Food Was Seasonal – explains the what of the latest book on food from the author of Salt, Cod and The Big Oyster.
I’ve just been enjoying the trailer for Julie & Julia, a film based on two books: My Life in France by American chef Julia Child and Julie Powell’s laugh-out-loud memoir Julie & Julia. Meryl Streep plays a suitably patrician Julia, while the lovely Amy Adams takes on the role of Julie. Check out the trailer below and watch out for the film, which should be out in Ireland on 11 September. I just might have to smuggle Little Missy in to the cinema!
While I may not be able to do quite as much cooking and baking these days while tethered to the couch by Little Missy and her demands for food, I can always read about it and – as every new mum knows – online shopping is your friend. The results of a few precious uninterrupted minutes with the computer earlier this week landed on the doorstep today for my reading pleasure over the long weekend: Willie’s Chocolate Factory Cookbook and Laurie Colwin’s Home Cooking.