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The Country Cooking of Ireland - Review

by Colman Andrews
(Chronicle Books, 2009)

The Country Cooking of Ireland cookbook takes you on an impressive journey through Ireland

"The Country Cooking of Ireland” successfully does away with common stereotypes associated with Ireland's cooking, such as the heavy meats and creamed dishes that have plagued Irish cuisine with the "inedible" label for centuries. Food and travel writer Colman Andrews moves past potatoes and puddings and delves into modern Irish cuisine, revealing an emphasis on farm-to-table practices and fresh local ingredients. And while the cookbook mainly highlights the beauty of artisanal producers, Andrews does leave room for some traditional dishes like Black pudding, Colcannon and Irish stew.

In fifteen chapters, Andrews illustrates the staples of everyday Irish cuisine by putting food into common categories like Soups, Fish, Poultry, Pork, Beef and Lamb, Vegetables and Desserts. Additional chapters are titled "The Irish Touch,” dedicating pages to traditional Irish dishes including Savory Pies, Oatmeal and the customary recipes for entrails and organs, also known as offal.

Referred to as "The Magical Fish," salmon stars in its own chapter, giving birth to recipes like Broiled Salmon with Butter and Honey, while a section on Wild Ireland's Game provides answers to questions on how to prepare Venison loin and Stuffed Rabbit Armagh Style. And whether you want them broiled, boiled, baked, mashed or stuffed, potato recipes are obtainable in Chapter Ten under "The Definitive Food.”

Beyond showcasing the beautiful artisanal food, this weighty coffee table book takes you on an impressive journey through Ireland. Bright photos of the lavish countryside with smiling locals and handfuls of quotes from Old Irish poems and great writers can't help but transport you to another world. Anecdotes about Sir Walter Raleigh and The Spud, Guinness beer, Irish Feasting, Whiskey, St. Patrick and much more teach readers about the history and magic of the Emerald Isle.

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