(I wrote this for my blog when I took an Irish Tourism-sponsored knitting tour of Eire).
I have to say that I did not have a single bad meal while I was in Ireland. Two or three that were unmemorable, but none that were bad.
We spent two days/nights on Inisheer, where everything has to be hauled over by ferry or plane from the mainland. Breakfasts were a choice between healthy options like yogurt, fruit and porridge/cereal or the “full Irish” – eggs, potatoes, grilled tomato, grilled mushrooms, three kinds of toast, bangers, Irish bacon which should not be confused with American-style bacon, and white or black “puddings” (aka blutwurst. I tried it. Once). I found that eating a full Irish kept me from getting hungry again until about 4pm, which was unfortunate given the quality and quantity of the lunches.
These consisted of different potato-based puree’d vegetable soups and amazing sandwiches. Maybe they were amazing because of the butter, which in Ireland is unbelievably good -- threats of violence were made against those who took all the egg salad. There were always at least two kinds of cake for dessert, along with fruit scones, cream and jam. Everything was freshly-made, un-fussy and absolutely delicious.
Dinners were eaten at a small guesthouse whose proprietress runs a cooking school. The first night we were served a seafood casserole made with chunks of fish and prawns, cream and buttered bread crumbs. Dishes of root vegetables were passed separately, family-style. The second night’s main course featured local (Galway) sausages.
Our hostess/instructress’ husband is a burly retired Irish Army quartermaster sergeant. He is also the lunch cook. The kitchen/ prep area is open to the dining area and he would lean against the counter with his massive arms folded, watching us swoon over the food.
1st knitting tourist lady: Omygawd these sandwiches are unbelievable. Try the chicken.
2nd knitting tourist lady: Have you had the scones yet?
3rd knitting tourist lady: Quit hogging the cream.4th knitting tourist lady: I would kill for another slice of that cake.
Cook: (finally) What about the soup, then?
This culinary largesse may have contributed to some nervousness on our parts the third morning, when we had to fly off the island (in two batches, on a plane about the size of my front porch). The airport lady made all of us weigh in along with our luggage.
Knitting tourist lady from California: (aghast) She's weighing us?
Me: Yes, but look -- she's just writing it down, she's not announcing it.
Knitting tourist lady from California: Good, because I'm wearing heavy shoes.