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.
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I started growing my own vegetables when I was about 11. After a long winter hording my pocket money, poring over seed catalogues and haunting the seed display in our local hardware shop, I bribed my younger brother to help me dig a few beds in the overgrown back garden. An early adopter of raised beds, my growing spaces were enclosed with random pieces of wood that we filched from around the house when our mother’s back was turned.
…you just might find there really is such a thing as a free lunch. Discover wild mushrooms, or berries for a juicy jam in the untimate foodie treasure hunt. By Caroline Hennessy for The Irish Mail on Sunday on Sunday 13 September 2009.
There are days when nothing but a loaf cake will do. When I’m calling round to a friend or heading to stay with a cousin, I like to bring something with me and these days I’m going through a phase of loaf cake making. I normally make a pair so there’s one to take and one to eat at home – otherwise the Husband might just starve to death!
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.
As a child, autumn was one of my favourite times of year. Going back to school was much eased by the fact that there were blackberries available for eating on nearby hedges, crab apples down the fields to be gathered and plenty of field mushrooms to be picked. This year, Little Missy in her sling for our daily walks, trying to grab any bramble that comes near her, we’ve been keeping an eye out for plump sloes and watching as the elderberries ripen, while eating lots of blackberries.
The details of the 2009 Blas na hEireann food awards have just been announced and the organisers are looking for entries from Irish food producers.
A mixture of stories and demonstrations around the theme of Irish pork made up the afternoon workshop at the Mitchelstown Food Festival on Friday. Carol O’Brien spoke about her pig farming family’s experiences of the dioxin scare and how this incentivised them to become involved with the setting up of Truly Irish. A national cooperative, Truly Irish represents pig producers from the entire island and products – rashers, sausages and ham – sold under the brand will be sourced in Ireland. Truly Irish will be officially launched at the Mitchelstown Food Festival producers’ market on Sunday and the products are available from Superquinn, Centra and SuperValu outlets around the country.