Not too long ago I was reading the rounds of tweets from Goodall’s of Ireland, a popular Irish brand of spices, seasonings and condiments, calling for all Irish food bloggers to submit their Irish recipes for an upcoming book project. Far be it for me to ever assume I am an Irish food blogger, but having a passion and commitment to Irish food, I took a keen interest in the book, even making a few half-joking attempts to get myself qualified. Folly, of course, but I have a few friends who made the cut, namely Evin from EvinOK.net and Kate from Fenns Quay and Then Some. As I jump on any opportunity to spread the word on the joy of Irish food, I invited A Modern Irish Cookbook invited Goodall representative Roisin O’Shea to a mini interview about the book:
Q: What is the inspiration behind A Modern Irish Cookbook?
A: This book was born out of a conversation that a few of us had about how we would describe what is Irish food to an international visitor. There’s no doubt about the quality of our produce or the level of talent in our best restaurants but what is our culinary identity…surely it has to have more to it than Irish stew? Does it need to be redefined now that we have moved away from traditional meat & two veg meals?
Q: Why did you choose to have food bloggers contribute to the book over traditional sources or a ‘celebrity chef’?
A: We wanted the views of people who really cared about Irish food; however we wanted to give a perspective on what people were cooking at home rather than in restaurants. We were conscious that there is no real definitive answer so we wanted to hear from as many people as possible. We have such a vibrant food blogging community here in Ireland, with lots of different experiences and view points that it would seem a shame not to ask them.
Q: What are the charities benefitting from the proceeds of A Modern Irish Cookbook?
A: Profits from the cookbook will go to two great food charities: Cork Penny Dinners and Dublin Food Bank, who together provide hot meals everyday, for anybody who needs them, no questions asked.
Q: What is cooking in the future for Goodall’s and what are your aspirations for this book and the future of Irish cooking; how is it both perceived and prepared?
A: We want Goodall’s to stay at the heart of Irish kitchens – just like it has since 1933. We would like to be there to help people with both their everyday and special occasion cooking and baking. We have some great products in the pipeline. Next week, our Marshmallow Crème hit the shelves. Made in Edenderry, we hope it becomes a firm favourite amongst the nation’s cake makers and decorators.
In terms of the future of Irish Cooking…I think it is all going in the right direction. Bord Bia research suggests we are all cooking more from scratch, becoming more adventurous with what we are cooking but at the same time staying interested in the provenance of what we buy and eat.
A Modern Irish Cookbook Launch Day in Dublin. image courtesy of Roisin O’Shea
Thank you, Roisin! The “Go Local” campaign is never more prevalent then it is in Ireland, with organizations like Love Irish Food
championing the heart of the matter, with a fabulous breakdown of why buying Irish is so important
Of course, I’m not the lone American fan of Irish Food, as food, lifestyle and craft blogger Evin is an American who has been calling Ireland her home for over four years. Wanting to understand her perspective of the cookbook, I posed a couple of questions to her.
Canapé’s – courtesy of Evin
Q: Could you describe what it means to you as an expat to be included in a Modern Irish cookbook?
Evin: To me, my Irish roots are something I cherish and I love living in Ireland, especially given its current focus on artisan food producers and local ingredients. Being included in the Modern Irish cookbook marries those roots with the modern producers, while adding awareness about sustainability, health and managing time in the kitchen.
Q: What was your perception of Irish food before you first visited Ireland versus now?
Evin: Growing up, my impression of Irish food was hearty stews, fresh fish, earthy vegetables and buttery breads and scones. Some of my old family recipes reflect that but fall short of fully exploring what modern Ireland’s food producers have to offer. When I first visited Ireland two decades ago, I distinctly remember two particular dishes I enjoyed. One was a mushroom vol-au-vent in Castletownsend, Co. Cork and the other was salmon and mashed potatoes I had outside of Limerick. Both were simply prepared with fresh ingredients, which is the foundation for success in my mind. Now, I could find similar dishes but instead of just mushroom vol-au-vent, the restaurant would boast that they use Ballyhoura mushrooms and instead of just salmon, it might be served with fennel shavings and lightly pickled fresh cucumber alongside mashed potatoes with melted Gubbeen cheese. Exploration of flavors and local sourcing seem to really be important to consumers, and therefore to restaurants.
Homemade Jam – courtesy of Evin
You can purchase your copy A Modern Irish Cookbook for €12 + post and packing and/or download the digital edition for only €2.99.
Purchase Here and go get a-cooking in your kitchen today!