Saint Patrick's Day is coming up soon, how many of you are planning on celebrating with the American tradition of corned beef and cabbage or green beer? I've long outgrown my taste for green beer, but I still make corned beef not just once, but twice during the month of March (the second one is dedicated solely to eating my fill of grilled Reuben sandwiches, Reuben salads, and corned beef hash.) Did you know that corned beef is not an Irish tradition for Saint Patrick's Day? When Irish immigrants came to America they reinterpreted their recipes to fit with what was inexpensive and readily available. It is much more common in Ireland to find boiled bacon on the table this time of year than corned beef because beef was considered an expensive and mostly unaffordable luxury in Ireland. In America beef was much more plentiful and affordable than pork, so the tradition of boiled bacon morphed into the absolutely delicious corned beef.
Since we're on the topic of boiled bacon and corned beef I wanted to mention something about My Irish Table by Cathal Armstrong & David Hagedorn that really caught my eye. There are numerous recipes for preparing your meats from scratch, the recipes for boiling bacon and corned beef were the first to catch my eye, but there are many more of these types of recipes for those of you who may be interested. As my family moves away from consuming prepackaged foods I've taken more of an interest in this type of recipe, we already brine our turkey for Thanksgiving, so why not do the same for our corned beef for St. Patrick's Day, or ham for Easter?
As you can tell not all of the recipes in this book are practical for every day meals, but they are perfect for the times you want to pull out all the stops, especially around the holidays. There is a good mix of traditional and contemporary recipes, some simple and others complicated, and you'll have no trouble finding something for every occasion. Many of the side dish recipes can be easily prepared for a week night meal and there is certainly no lack of recipes showing you different ways to serve potatoes for dinner. For those of you who are Catholic and observing Lent there is an entire chapter called Fridays are for Fish which may give you some more recipes to add to your repertoire besides the standard fish and chips, although some of the ingredients may be hard to come by if you live in a landlocked area as I do.
Unfortunately for those of you who are vegan or vegetarian, most of the recipes in this book are not easily modified for these diets. However if you are a meat-eater, not counting calories, and looking for a hearty Irish meal, you may want to take a closer look at this book.
Where to Purchase
This book was sent to me for review by Ten Speed Press through NetGalley. As always, all opinions are my own.
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