Green Isle, Brown Bread
In the summers of 2002 and 2004 I was lucky enough to journey through Ireland. In culinary terms, this led to more than a few pints of Guinness, and the occasional nightmare of a steak (seriously did they Irish encounter beef before 1802?) But what really stuck with me was a staple served with breakfast, lunch, and dinner:
The stuff was everywhere, baked to perfection and slathered in good, salty Irish butter. That, a pint of Bulmer’s/Magner’s Hard Cider, and a bowl of rich vegetable soup always filled me so full by the time my abused beef tenderloin got to me I couldn’t eat it. I came to associate Ireland with that bread–tying the Island to it.
I can sing The Wild Rover with my family anywhere. I can pound down Guinness in any Chicago pub. But eating this brown soda bread, gazing out a Bed-and-Breakfast’s window and seeing misty rain fall gently on green fields…or dunking it in soup while listening to a burly Irishman shout cuinas! (silence! in Gaelic) over a crowd so the publican can sing…those I can’t do anywhere but me old Emerald Isle. I even got a little misty picking up my final slice at a cafe in the airport.
How about you, dear readers? Where have you gone and what foods are those places for you?
-Jim is feeling nostalgic