Best of 2020
Up next we meet one of ireland's finance jeff's kp mcmahon based in galway the michelin starred chefs. Culinary accomplishments include any restaurant and anne robotic cookery school as well as his. Release the irish cookbook. One of the most beautiful cookbook releases off. Twenty twenty till's the story of irish feud and how it has evolved over thousands of years showcasing the richness and variety of food from this green islands with its five hundred authentic recipes. The author jp mcmahon jones me in the studio back in march to discuss the book on how irish food is about so much more than just lamb stew and potatoes as was initially. It was a bit apprehensive because there are many many irish food cookbooks in the twentieth century. But i suppose. I found that a lot of them had been written for an irish audience or perhaps people travelling to ireland. It was important for me to try and give an international dimension and was one of the reasons why publishing with fight on made a difference because they have a global reach and it was in order to try and change the perception of irish food. I think also because we have a restaurant called a near which is will mission star restaurant. We've had it for ten years and we've been investigating irish food for ten years and i felt a lot of the things that we've been doing over. Those ten years weren't in cookbooks. And some of them are very old things like using seaweed using wild food in different ways. And i wanted i suppose that a record of that and that was the start i think the initial for doing it was a had traveled a lot to different places and taking part in chef events and i realized that are affected that we had really good produce in ireland. I'm we just weren't singing about it now. I took part in events in mexico in america and canada in europe and we were always celebrating the cuisine of a particular area. And as why are we doing this. And why aren't we kind of like saying well. We have really good food where shellfish or or whatever so. They were kind of the driving forces behind the book. Now what do you think. Ireland has been so modest about its food on its culinary legacy heritage. I think there's a certain humbleness modesty to irish people and they're probably not the best people at selling themselves like i think we're frustrated capitalists and we want to do things but at the same time we don't want to come across as being bombastic. I think that's worn element. I think the second element is the famine and the subsequent diaz before that happens. I think that impacted irish food particularly of the twentieth century and on the one hand you had people that did not have that much access to food in art and even though there was a lot of food and then the second part you had people who did have access that is food. Who were i think. Predominantly from the anglo-irish irish element and some has be would call the west brits so the people who would be associated with england and these people who had food. I think we're not considered to be irish often. This kind of tension between the tradition that it goes all the way back at least a thousand years between people on the island and people who have food and people don't have food on who we consider irish what we consider irishness tried to take a very broad perspective on it. And so when you go into the archives of the recipe books that you find are from landed gentry anglo-irish aristocracy mostly on. I think when became independent in nineteen twenty two. We kind push that assignment. But that's not really irish. You talk about going to the archives of research did you actually conducts to gather all these five hundred recipes. You having this book. Some of it was looking at best. Baseball's cookbooks from the nineteenth to twentieth century and looking through tried to pick recipes that i thought represented ireland in that respect i found stuff like say pollen is a river fish that is almost forgotten and offend a wonderful pollen recipe. I think in the nineteen seven book and interest. Enough are fishmonger had just been talking about pollen and nobody easing it and it all goes to europe and his fish from nee in northern ireland. That was one thing. I think looking ass older manuscripts was wonderful thing. Because i love history as well and looking at how people wrote recipes and how they i suppose. There was a certain assumption in recipes that the person who was reading new it already so the method was very very scant and often the recipe books were household management books. That would be passed down from mother to a daughter to a granddaughter so people could be able to cook the recipes. Were very interesting. A lot of pickles. Stuff a lot of preserve stuff because there was no frigid. So a lot of salting like i suppose. There's almost like how to live because if you couldn't do these things then you in trouble. Did you come across many recipes that had been practically forgotten already. Yeah like one or two some that we probably would not eat now. One was pickled herring. Which i thought was really interesting because i did a story and friend of mine because i thought didn't they meant herring and she was like no. That's terron lake orion and i was like wow because there's one heron galway and flies up and down and if anyone was to pick them i be in trouble but the interesting thing was that it reminded me of like an s quebec spanish dish where they cook fish or chicken and they covered in vinegar and wine solution and essentially that was the recipe and the recipe started off was like chopped the heads off one hundred hereon got and viscera them. That was the start of the recipe. And i was like wow. That's already a big mess. Some of the other things that are still useful. I think i put it in was quincy and quincy eric. Something that are not native to ireland but there was a lot in the seventeenth and eighteenth century that would preserve a lot of quences and so preserved. Quincy was what i would call mark cross again and again and again and also recipes would almonds. The irish were obsessed with amines. Which again is one of those interesting things to think about because again. Do not come from ireland.