Ask A Broadsheet Reader

at | 75 Replies

Laura Gaynor twasks:

Genuine question: Why is Irish stew so commonly put forward as a sort of national food representing Ireland?

75 thoughts on “Ask A Broadsheet Reader

  1. Anomanomanom

    Because I’ve tasted plenty of “irish” dishes cooked outside Ireland that tasted nicer than the actual traditional Irish dish cooked here. But I’ve never tastes a stew nicer than an Irish stew cooked in Ireland by people who grew up eating it.

    Reply
  2. Jeffrey

    Same for France, who da poppy-poo still eat “Boeuf Bourguignon” … Last time I must have been about 10 yo.

    Reply
      1. george

        You give them too much credit. They googled “national dishes” or something like that and compiled or took a list.

        Reply
        1. millie st murderlark

          That’s probably right.

          At least it’s not corned beef. Find me an Irish person who ever ate that. Gick.

          Reply
          1. Ronan

            I’ve never eaten it. I remember as a kid, a friend’s mother making him a sandwich with sliced tinned corned beef, and I was put off for life.

            An american ‘surprised’ me with it one day (along with cans of weird Nigeria-brewed Guinness) and was shocked when I refused the corned beef and thought the Guinness tasted weird. Imagine his surprise when I told him that no one goes around saying “may the road rise with you and may the wind always be at your back”.

          2. Ollie Cromwell

            “At least it’s not corned beef. Find me an Irish person who ever ate that. Gick.”

            …. letting the adults talk.

        1. Ronan

          I’m from Cork and Cork peasant food is equally vile. At least conceptually, I’ve never actually eaten the tripe and drisheen. Thankfully both parents were country-rared so it was just bacon and cabbage and stew.

          Reply
          1. Rob_G

            A lot of Irish cuisine does seem to work less on the principle of ‘this tastes nice’, more on the principle of ‘eating this is better than starving to death’.

          2. Papi

            One of the reasons Cork food is so different is that cattle exports were done through the port, and the slaughtering was done right on the quay for freshest cuts. All that was left behind was the offal, therefore Cork cuisine is generally based around offcuts and the like. Now for ya.

          3. scottser

            god i remember the smell of my gran boiling up tripe in milk – the thought of it is making me gag even now.

  3. Rob_G

    I’m not trying to be funny, but do we have any other national dishes?

    Soda bread, cooked breakfast, Irish stew – after that, I am drawing a blank.

    Reply
    1. Stephen

      Coddle is the only other one really, and to be fair I’d say majority of people under 40 havn’t ever had it, a lot probably don’t even know what it is.
      Wikipedia list a few other but its stuff like Bacon and Spuds, which isn’t really a dish so much as cook some meat and then some carbs. Few breads also.

      Reply
      1. Rob_G

        Coddle, spiced beef, and to a lesser extent, potato farls, are local dishes eaten in a very specific part of the country, I don’t think they could be touted as part of our ‘national’ cuisine.

        Reply
          1. Ronan

            Some Cork folk eat spiced beef at Christmas, if they’re 2nd/3rd generation or more city dwellers. I’ve literally never seen at any other time of year, and was in my 20s before I saw or tasted it. It’s rather good as it happens.

            Kind of cool having 3 meats in your Christmas dinner though.

          2. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

            DOES ANYONE EAT SPICED BEEF???
            How very dare you! Every Christmas. It isn’t Christmas without it. And it’s not just Cork: the butchers in Rathfarnham village win a prize for theirs. Wilson’s do it too.

    1. Papi

      It’s fantastic, each place tries to outdo each other with having the best. More chowder than soup really though.

      Reply
    2. Rob_G

      The food in Norway is the worst of any place I ever visited in Europe. It also had the 2nd-best looking women too, though, so a bit of a mixed bag.

      Reply
      1. Ronan

        The ladies are ridiculous in Oslo. I’m curious as to why you ranked them 2nd? Where is this other place I haven’t visited?

        Reply
        1. Rob_G

          Serbia, pal. Even the girls working security in the airport look like catwalk models, everyone gorgeous and so slim.

          Reply
          1. Ronan

            I need to go more east. Norway is the best I’ve seen. Paris and London are great, but don’t really count as it’s a combination of sheer volume and multi-cultural flavours from all over. A bit of the best of all worlds.

            Biggest let downs based on image/stereotypes were Sweden and Brazil.

    1. Starina

      my fave Dutch dish is the salted herring. You eat it holding the tail and dip it in onions. *drool*

      Though in my experience, the actual national food of the Netherlands is Indonesian food.

      Reply
        1. scottser

          it’s rank. when the herring catch comes in for a few weeks all the bars leave trays of raw herring and onions on the bar and you can scoff to your heart’s content.

          Reply
        1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

          Speak for yourself. I’m descended from the High Kings of Ireland.*

          *the band. My Mum is/was a renowned groupie.

          Reply
        2. Starina

          Andyourpointiswhatexactly knows all about hungry gaps WHA’!!!

          (sorry. this short week is so long, i’m cracking)

          Reply
    1. Rob_G

      This is also true. You’d really think we would have lots more nice seafood dishes as part of our national cuisine.

      Reply
        1. Ronan

          Something to do with British landowners zealously protecting their fishing ‘rights’? Peasants couldn’t get near the fish to innovate with dishes.

          Reply
      1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

        I don’t think I’ve ever eaten drisheen. I used to be fed tripe as a kid (!) but when I realised what it was, it stopped.

        Reply
  4. JunkFace

    Whoever made this map did shag all research, and just threw in a bunch of old cliches. The Germany one should be Bratwurst for sure.
    Last time I had Irish Stew in Ireland was decades ago

    Reply
    1. Frilly Keane

      Same here

      And with Bacon n’ Cabbage
      A bristley pigs nipple was involved in that food fetish developing

      Puddins
      Now that’s a bitta Irish grub most of us would agree on
      And Taytos
      Maybe Corned Beef too

      But stew
      Nah
      Not in my gaff anyway

      BTW, since tis the season
      Almost
      Bake Off 2018

      So get yere eye rollers inta boot camp

      Reply
      1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

        YEAH! Really looking forward to it.
        I made a coffee cake last weekend: Ballymaloe recipe. Twasn’t great.

        Reply
        1. FrillBake

          When I get around to it
          I’ll give ya mine

          Everyone should have the makings of a daycent Coffee Cake in their repertoire

          If the sales are still going
          Get yerself a ring and or a loaf tin
          And get the very best you can afford
          TK Maxx if yer stuck

          Reply
          1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

            I have around 6 loaf tins of various sizes. No ring tin (bundt?). I’ll take a look at lunchtime.
            Yeah. I made it with Camp: I see they’re selling it in Tesco now so I can get more.

  5. Paul Flynn

    It should simply read Stew.
    Outside of Ireland it’s Irish Stew (made with lamb).
    And by the way Coddle is really just a boiled fry-up.
    And corned beef came in a tin where I grew up!!!
    As you were.

    Reply
  6. ____

    The traditional Irish cuisine is having bare cupboards and trying to survive on little or nothing.

    That’s why we have no traditional foods other than a couple of dishes like boxty, blaa, and the “throw whatever we have into a pot and make it stretch with water” options of stew and coddle.

    I’d be curious to see what we were eating before monoculture agriculture and near-starvation serfdom. That’s what would/should have been the basis for Irish cuisine.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *