Friday, March 14, 2008

Country Challenge Winner #4 - Ireland!


Since St. Patrick’s Day is Monday, I had to make this week’s Country Challenge winner Ireland! I was so excited about cooking traditional Irish food, until I read what it consisted of. The middle class and poor in the country had a diet that consisted of milk, butter, cheese, oats, barley, potatoes, cabbage, bacon, and ham. Ireland has since been influenced by many cultures and their food is very worldly. In recent years, a new Irish cuisine has emerged, using traditional Irish ingredients, but adding new flavors and ingredients to update them. This was the approach I took for this week.

I found a cookbook called The Spirit of Ireland in Barnes and Noble. The author has separated the book into chapters, each dedicated to recipes containing a specific Irish alcoholic beverage. I found this to be a funny, yet effective way to organize a cookbook. This entire cookbook is written and photographed beautifully. It is very informative about the history of the country and the evolution of the spirits. It uses many traditional ingredients, mixed with ingredients that are made in Ireland. I will be solely cooking from this cookbook this week!

I did my best to hunt down imported Irish ingredients. Since it’s the week of St. Patrick’s day, it did make it easier. Of course all of these recipes can be made with American ingredients, I just wanted to cook as authentically as possible. I will divulge more information about the history and character of each ingredient and recipe as each dish is presented throughout the week.

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