Sunday, November 22, 2015

"Full Irish"

I was mistaken when I said I had only taken one photo of the food.  This was my first encounter with a full Irish breakfast,consumed (shortly after staggering off the plane) at a lovely guesthouse called the Evergreen.  If you need a place to stay that’s ten minutes from the Dublin airport, I can wholeheartedly recommend it.

This particular version lacks the fried potatoes, either because I ate them before I thought of the camera, or possibly because I arrived an hour and a half after normal breakfast hours.  I don't remember.  The proprietors* made up for any carbohydrate deficiency with a basket of fresh scones.

I heartily recommend this, followed by a long nap, as a coping mechanism for jet lag.

(*Jimmy and Mary Canavan, who told me to “come on out” even though it was way before check-in time, served a hot breakfast and then tucked me up in a room in its own wing on the quiet side of the house).

The dark disk on the plate at two o’clock is black pudding, just to the right of the white pudding.  I have sampled the German and the Scottish versions of black pudding on their native heaths and was reasonably certain I would not care for the Irish.  I was right, and it has nothing to do with Jimmy's skill with the saucepans.

Every pork-eating civilization claims a version -- it used to be common in this country particularly among Irish and German immigrants, when home butchering was the norm and housewives made their own sausages and other cured meat products.  Black pudding recipes use oatmeal, beet suet, and fresh pig's blood.  White pudding recipes use pretty much the same ingredients but the pig's blood.

To Make Blood Puddings.  Take your Indian meal (according to the quantity you wish to make), and scald it with boiled milk or water, then stir in your blood, straining it first, mince the hog's lard and put it in the pudding, then season it with treacle and pounded penny-royal to your taste, put it in a bag and let boil six or seven hours.  The Frugal Housewife, by Susannah Carter, 1803.

Grandma Thompson's White Pudding.  Weigh equal quantities of best beef suet and sifted flour, shave down suet and rub into fine particles with the hands, removing all tough and stringy parts, mix well with the flour, season very highly with pepper, salt to taste, stuff loosely in beef-skins (entrails cleansed like pork-skins for sausage), half a yard or less in length, secure the ends, prick every two or three inches with a darning-needle, place to boil in a kettle of cold water hung on the crane; boil three hours, place on table until cold, after which hang up in a cool place to dry; tie up in a clean cotton bag, and put it away where it will be both dry and cool.  When wanted for use, cut off the quantity needed, boil in hot water until heated through, take out and place before the fire to dry off and "crisp." The above was considered an "extra dish" at all the "flax scutchings," "quilting frolics," and "log rollings" of a hundred years ago.  Buckeye Cookery, by Estelle Wood Wilcox, 1877.


Sam said...

Your picture brought back full memories of our Irish B&B breakfasts (minus the blood pudding - ick). It was about 2 months after that trip before I could look at a fried egg or bacon...but it was so yummy!

Bunnykins said...

As utterly revolting as the puddings are, the cooks deserve full marks for not wasting anything, ever (bleech.)

Anonymous said...

Um . . . how about a half-Irish? Seriously, altho I like everything on that plate that I've tasted (I admit to some suspicion about the blood-sausage), that's enough food for the entire day for this rather sedentary middle-aged person!

Lady Anne said...

Y'know, there are a lot of advantages to being a vegetarian.
I do miss scrapple, oddly enough. I probably couldn't keep it down if I ate it, but I miss the taste.