Ireland remains, to this day, one of my favourite places to have visited. Along with its storied history and jaw-dropping scenery, the food and drink culture absolutely blew my mind.
This morning, on CBC Edmonton A.M., I spoke with Tara McCarthy about my experience and with St. Patricks’ Day just around the corner, I hope my latest Travel Through Food segment will inspire you to delve into the history of this incredible country, watch some enlightening documentaries, or perhaps read some James Joyce or W.B. Yeats, two literary greats who hailed from “the Land of Saints and Scholars.” Above all else, I hope this makes you want to cook some delicious food.
If you missed the episode live, you can listen to it here.
I talked, in particular, about Irish stew, colcannon and soda bread. You’ll find an endless amount of recipes for each on the web but one to note is the one from Bon Appetite. Lots of info out there for stew, too, but if you need step-by-step instructions, I’d recommend taking a look at The Spruce Eats or Martha Stewart’s website.
I used a 4 ingredient soda bread recipe that I found online, but truthfully, wasn’t too happy with it. Just today, I remembered a recipe (pictured below) I got from a neighbour about 25 years ago that turned out really well the few times I made it, so I’m going to give that one a go this week.
There are 101 ways to tweak recipes for soda bread so that it comes out lighter, heavier, sweeter, darker, crumblier, etc., or however you prefer, so, if you find a recipe that ends up being not your cup of tea, just keep trying until you find one that does.
If you’re a beer fan, serve that delicious stew with a Guinness (dark stout) or a creamy ale like Kilkenny.
Irish coffee is fantastic and super simple to make. Thrift stores are overloaded with Irish coffee glasses right now, so it’s a good time to find the perfect vessel. To it, add: 1 to 2 tsp sugar (brown or white), 4 ounces of strong hot coffee, 1.5 ounces Irish whiskey and a big dollop of whipped cream made from heavy cream. I sweetened mine with maple syrup instead of sugar, and it was wonderful. Maybe that makes it an Irish-Canadian coffee?
Travel shouldn’t be just about racking up travel points or ticking places off a list like a conqueror. Travel should serve as an education, one that opens your mind and connects you with your fellow earthly inhabitants. Learning through books and walking in the footsteps of kings and queens and those who made history is invaluable. Learning through food—eating at another person’s table—is the cherry on top.
Stay curious, friends, and when the time comes to travel again, point your compass to the Emerald Isle.
P.S. If you’re hungry for beautiful images of Ireland, head on over to Tourism Ireland’s Instagram account and get your fill. Prepare to fall in love.