The Irish are well knownâ€”but not necessarily admiredâ€”for their traditional meat-and-potatoes cuisine. But until recently, visitors to the Emerald Isle found scant evidence of such classic fare as corned beef and cabbage on Irish menus.
A Dublin hotel concierge was more likely to recommend a local French or Italian restaurant than anyplace serving â€˜Irish food.â€™
Writing for the Christian Science Monitor, Giancarlo La Giorgia says that the economic boom times of the nineties caused Irish people to turn their backs on classic fare that was now deemed â€˜low-classâ€™ food, a reminder of poorer times.
But it now appears things have come full circle, with more and more contemporary Irish chefs returning to their roots and serving home-grown traditional Irish favorites. And it appears to have little to do with the global recession.
One major reason for the resurgence: the â€˜eat localâ€™ movement has reached Irish shores, and chefs are employing more Irish-sourced produce, cheeses, meat and seafood for their cuisine creations. They’re developing dishes containing classic Irish ingredients, with perhaps a contemporary twist.
At cooking schools such as Castle Leslie in Glaslough, students are educated in the art of classic Irish cooking and they learn how to prepare traditional dishes including Irish stew and soda bread.
La Giorgia spoke to Gerard Molloy, the school’s head chef. Molloy says he’s gained new appreciation for what Ireland has to offer. â€˜I’ve learned that our green fields and lush meadows are home to the finest beef, meat, poultry, and game, and the rivers, lakes and coastlines abound with fresh seafood,â€™ he says. â€˜The key to good cooking is to use the best of these ingredients and to prepare them simply.â€™
Oh, Danny boy, I hear the pride in classic Irish cuisine returning to that lush green landscape…and it has a very nice lilt to it.