A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
If you enjoy eating at some of our local Irish pubs, you will want to check out this award-winning cookbook.
What kind of cookbook is Country Cooking of Ireland?
Ireland is a land that has often been beset with hardships, including poverty and even famine. Its people have been resourceful in feeding themselves, hunting, fishing, and making do with what they can harvest. As you can see in The Country Cooking of Ireland by Colman Andrews, they have learned to make whatever they have delicious. This richly-illustrated book filled with traditional Irish recipes and stories about Irish food culture won James Beard Foundation Best Cookbook of the year Award in 2010.
Is this cookbook easy to use?
Since Irish cooking is country food and not haute cuisine, the methods of food preparation are not difficult. Since Western Springs is not Ireland, you may have to search for some of the fish or game meats. The ingredient for the offal dishes may be scarce in our area. While many of the vegetables and spices are common, there is an occasional call for something like dried carrageen moss or bilberries.
What is special about this cookbook?
The book is really heavy and filled with beautiful photographs. With its many stories in sidebars, it may be meant as much for the coffee table as for the kitchen. I suspect people of Irish descent will find its pictures of fireplaces and rugged Irish coast appealing. The hearty food may be particularly appealing during a cold winter.
What are your favorite recipes from this cookbook?
The chapter on savory pies is particularly appealing to me. I think I would enjoy Fermanagh Bacon and Potato Pie (page 123) and The Best Shepherd’s Pie (page 126). Butternut Squash and Apple Soup (page 33) sounds delicious, as does the potato dish Panhaggerty (page 229). The Ballymaloe Chocolate Almond Cake (page 303) made with dark Jamaican rum must be good.
Review by Rick