Irish food is marked for its extensive usage of potato and beef. The Irish stew made of meat (mutton) potato and onion is the national dish of the inhabitants of this Island. Other typical Irish recipes include Colcannon (a dish made with cabbage, mashed potatoes and kale), cabbage and bacon (a traditional dish made with boiled bacon, boiled cabbage and boiled potatoes), Coddle (a traditional layered pork sausage and potato dish of Dublin), and Boxty (potato pancake).
Culinary History and Culture of Irish Cuisine
Irish food, of the early times, mostly included honey. Mead, an Irish honey drink, also known as Honey wine was one of the earliest preparations of the Irish cuisine. Deer meat was cooked in holes in ground in an oven-like arrangement called fulchet fidah. The early Viking settlers ate mutton, beef, pork, poultry and made porridge from goosefruit and knotgrass seeds. In the 16th century cattle meat was exclusive to the high social classes while the peasants had milk, cheese, offal, barley and oats. Black pudding made of cattle blood was a staple food. The incorporation of potato into the Irish diet from the later half of the 16th century is often looked upon as an outcome of compulsive dependence on the vegetables owing to stringent enforcement of farming laws by the government of the country. The modern Irish food is significantly influenced by the other European and Asian cuisines. Popular modern Irish recipes include pizza, Chinese recipes, and a vast range of seafood recipes.
Commonly Used Ingredients and Cooking Methods for Irish Recipes
Irish food mainly comprises of meat, vegetables, grains, seafood and dairy products. Meat of cow, lamb, chicken and geese, and offal are commonly consumed. Other than potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes and curly kale also find wide usage by the Irish cuisine. Milk and common milk products, such as butter, cheese and buttermilk address the dairy needs of the Irish population. Wheat, barley and oats are commonly used grains. The Irish seafood includes smoked salmon, lobster, fish and shellfish.
Boiling and frying are the most common methods of cooking followed by the Irish cuisine. Traditionally the Irish food was prepared by simmering in the large pot called the cauldron. Soups and stews in the pre-potato era were mostly prepared in this way. Later, meat was cooked using hot stones.
Traditional/Festive/ Gourmet/Everyday/Modern/Fusion Irish Recipes
Apart from the Irish stew, Boxty and Coddle, the list of traditional Irish recipes also includes Champ, a dish made with scallions and mashed potato. Dublin Bay prawn, cod, oysters and salmon are also mostly used by the cuisine. Dublin Lawyer, a creamy lobster dish is one of the most widely known dishes of the region. Irish soda bread is a typical traditional Irish food. Blaa (a bread roll) and soda farls are other types of Irish breads.
Fish and Chips, Shepherds Pie, Corned beef sandwiches, Irish ice cream and spud soup are some of the festive dishes from the modern Irish cuisine. Contrary to popular belief, the Irish cuisine includes a number of comfort foods made with bread and meats as gourmet dishes. The Soda breads like wheaten bread and blaa and Colcannon are consumed as gourmet Irish food when special recipes are made from them at Irish restaurants. Irish gourmet recipes also include those made from smoked shellfish, oysters and mussels. A pork chops dish made by cooking it in alcoholic beverages like ale is a gourmet dish of the region. Soda bread Tarte Tatin may be considered a gourmet dessert of the Irish cuisine. Guinness, an Irish dry stout, is often teamed with a dish of shellfish. Corned beef and cabbage is one of the most popular Irish-Chinese fusion dishes.
Modern Irish food is a delectable assortment of dishes from many cuisines. The Irish recipes include popular ones from the Tex-Mex, Chinese, Italian, West African and Polish cuisines. Fish and chips and pizza are amongst the most fondly eaten fast foods of the region.
Complete Meal Routine of the Irish Cuisine
Irish food, that is traditionally consumed as a staple breakfast consists of Black Pudding, made with the blood of cattle. The savory pudding is made be adding ingredients like cereal and seasonings. Grilled and fried Irish recipes that include egg, sausages, bacon, tomato, potato farls and potato slices, and white pudding are also served for breakfast. Lunch consists of dishes made with Irish breads and potatoes. Soups and stews are common accompaniments.
The Irish Dinner for a festive occasion such as Saint Patrick’s Day may include the following: Guinness or Harp Lager ( as an appetizer drink), Irish stew as an appetizer or a main course food such as cabbage and beef with a compatible sauce like horseradish sauce. Irish soda bread, Colcannon and Black Pudding make good options as other items to be included in the festive Irish food menu. An Irish tea cake with Irish tea can be served as the last course.
Culinary Etiquette as per Irish Cuisine
Irish food is served in a less formal environment than that followed in other European cuisines. However, there are some norms to be followed. Continental style of table manners, in which the fork is held with the left hand and the knife with the right hand, is followed. It is recommended that the elbows are not rested on the dining table while eating though they should be seen and not positioned on the diner’s lap. It is always good manners to offer to clean up the table after the meal. In formal dining environments, as for special occasions, a more rigid etiquette should be followed.
Popular Chefs of Irish Cuisine
Some of the most famous chefs of Irish food are listed below:
· Rachel Allen- A celebrity chef from Dublin
· Derry Clark – Celebrity chef, judge of television reality show Failte Towers, and L ‘ECrivain restaurant proprietor
· Kevin Dundon- Award winning chef and author of cookbook Full On Irish: Contemporary Creative Cooking, who featured the television reality show Guerrilla Gourmet and Heat
Health Benefits of Irish Food
The Irish food includes potatoes and seaweed which have been recognized for their nutritional and medicinal worth. Potatoes have been found to lower blood pressure and supply vitamin B6 which is beneficial for the brain cells and the neurological system, and also the cardiovascular system of the body. Edible seaweeds and sea vegetation are low-calorie foods and natural suppliers on trace minerals besides other minerals. Irish moss beverage made by boiling Charageen moss is known for treating ulcers apart from being recognized as a good moisturizer when put into usage in cosmetics.
Irish Cuisine: Trivia
Irish Coffee was invented in 1950 by .Joe Sheridan and was made popular by Stanton Delaplane.