2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Darina Allen is one of the best food writers out there,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Irish Traditional Cooking: Over 300 Recipes from Ireland's Heritage (Hardcover)
Lost in half a dozen house moves, one involving a change of country, is my previous highly valued Irish cookbook - so long now that I've forgotten the title. Never mind, Darina has come to the rescue. "Irish Traditional Cooking" is not just a great cookbook, it also contains a potted history of cooking in that country - and fascinating it is too. The cooking sections incorporate: Broths and Soups, Eggs, Fish, Game, Poultry, Lamb, Beef, Pork, Offal, Potatoes, Vegetables, Food from the Wild, Desserts, Breads and Pancakes, Dairy, Oatmeal and Other Grains, Cakes and Biscuits, Drinks and Preserves - in short, pretty much anything you would ever want to do. The recipes also cover some of what might be called traditional British dishes, partly because citizens from other parts of the islands spent considerable time in Ireland, but mainly because Irish workers all over Britain inevitably contributed a great deal to the potpourri that is British cuisine - thank you!
Before going into detail on the recipes, I'd like to say something about the overall design of this book. Each recipe begins with a little anecdote on where they come from and, sometimes, how you might vary them. Most of them seem to have been begged from older acquaintances, who presumably got them in the same way. Next big plus (for me) - pages aren't wasted with too many pictures. The recipes are interspersed with relevant anecdotes or detail on a particular ingredient. I love these - they're well written, relevant, and just fascinating to read. Now, the food! There's a brilliant three pages on pancakes - history and half a dozen different styles to base your variations on. Personally, I've never had anything to beat sugar and fresh lemon juice! The section on Offal might also be of interest. Along with the familiar Tripe and Onions, Steak and Kidney Pie, and Liver and Bacon, are some more esoteric concoctions, often involving the blood of something or other. I can't possibly cover everything here, and I haven't had time to try a few recipes, but Darina's stuff works - trust me! So, here's a few I'll be tackling when I've had time to hunt out the ingredients: Lamb and Oyster Pie, Sea Kale on Toast with Prawns and Hollandaise Sauce, Mr Guiness's Cake (from the family of the brewer - "like eating dreams"), Mrs Mary B. Kelly's Boxty (boiled, then fried, grated potato dumplings), Ginger Wine, Irish Breakfast (amongst other things, the Pork section also tells you how to boil a ham and, if you're getting keen, how to kill a pig!), any one of 7 varieties of cheese cakes (not cheesecake). . .
And that's it. This book is probably Darina's finest. She sets out with great pride to show you the best of the food of her heritage - how to make it, where it comes from, and how to eat it - and succeeds, in spades!