Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Coddle and Dublin Lawyer

I got myself two cookbooks before Christmas, one with 1000 basic dishes for beginners, (I've 995 to go), the other a small Irish cookbook which included the quintessential Dublin dish, coddle.
It's a fairly basic meal, the book tried to complicate things a bit but basically its potatoes, sausages and rashers boiled together.
I did it the other day and it was tasty too, but I threw a bit of parsley in with it to add some flavour as spuds, sausages and rashers can only do so much.
I also did a meal from the book called Dublin Lawyer. I got a frozen lobster for £6.50 in Tescos in Belfast, cooked it in butter for a few minutes, poured some whiskey on it, lit the whiskey and poured cream over it all when the uisce beatha had burned itself out. And that's Dublin Lawyer.
I don't know where it got the name but presumably it was from a time when only lawyers in Dublin could afford it, or maybe it's because of the physical resemblance between lobsters and your average lawyers in the Four Courts, or even because many people in Ireland wouldn't mind seeing some lawyers thrown alive into boiling water : )?
As far as Dublin cuisine in the book goes there's also Dublin Bay Prawns and 'Dublin-Style' ham with apples, that's it and I don't know of any other dishes myself. Not that us Dubs should feel so bad, Ireland as a whole doesn't really have a cuisine of its own.
We do have a few unique dishes but a cuisine they do not make, there are probably villages in Spain and Italy that have more culinary variety in them than all of Ireland put together.
If you are what you eat that would make us mainly Anglo-American, I have to laugh everytime I see a sign in a chipper for 'Traditional Fish and Chips,' fish and chips being about as traditionally Irish as the Big Mac is.
Anyway I say if we don't have a cuisine there's no point complaining about it, we should create one.
Maybe cuisines should grow organically from the people, but we could always give it a boost, we could have a competition of some sort for our chefs and cooks and come up with dishes that for the most part use ingredients found in Ireland.
It wouldn't be ideal but sure there's no law against it.