One of the most common misconceptions about eating in Ireland is that all you’ll enjoy are potatoes, because that’s the only thing the Irish are good at cooking. Well, we’re here to prove that notion wrong.
Sure, our Irish ancestors loved their potatoes, but Ireland’s food scene is rapidly changing, growing more innovative and cutting-edge each day. While the technology behind the food is becoming more advanced, Ireland’s cuisine is steeped in tradition, and so although you may see the starchy vegetables in a few preparations, you’ll find impressive and flavorful dishes that speak to the roots or Ireland far beyond the potato.
Every traditional Irish dish tells a story of folklore and survival — a testament to who the Irish truly are. As Ireland transformed during its history, its cuisine graduated from the dark days of the famine, when dishes were eaten in silence and the bourgeois tried to imitate fine French cuisine, to something that should be celebrated. It wasn’t until Myrtle Allen of Ballymaloe House in eastern County Cork served traditional, local fare to guests in 1964 with great pride that Irish cuisine truly began to shine. In the wake of an economic explosion, post-war Ireland started to offer a cuisine that reflected the rapid cultural change their society was undergoing. Now, along with celebrity chefs like Anthony Bourdain, who gave a nod to the cuisine on his hit show No Reservations, people all over the world are gathering an increased awareness of Ireland’s food progression, and we think that’s a good thing.
One of the best ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (besides drinking, of course), is to pay homage to Ireland’s traditional cuisine. The basics of it are simple: potatoes, beef, lamb, and bread — staples of Ireland’s food that make it as homey and fulfilling as its vibrant green countryside. To pay homage to the cuisine, we’re taking a look at 10 traditional Irish dishes that we think you should know, and we've given them a modern twist. This St. Patrick’s Day, start your own tradition and reflect on some of Ireland’s time-honored dishes by adding your own touch of American flair.