Life, Living, Becoming...
Gerry Coughlan

 One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato, Four!

A discussion of Irish childhood food memories has to be somewhat coloured by potatoes or spuds.
Every single meal I remember had potatoes in one disguise or other; mashed, boiled, roasted, chipped, sliced, fried, skins on or skins off.
If it didn't have potatoes, it wasn't a proper meal; more like a snack.

Aru from Cork?
I am aru.
Do you eat potatoes?
Indeed, I do.
How'd ye eat them?
Skin an' all
Bad for the stomach
Not at all.

The first step to preparing a meal was to peel the spuds; in the sink or, if you were a grandad, in a basin next to the fire on a cold day.

My favourite meals were bangers and mash, pies, mash and sliced creamed carrots - ( the cream was a bit of cornflour sauce made with the water from cooking the carrots), boiled potatoes and stew and roast potatoes with anything at all, on a Sunday. Even a nice salad in summer would have hot potatoes, usually little New ones with their skins on.
Every year when the New ones came out, the prices in the local chipper would go up but they tasted so good and no one complained.

There was no rice with a main course. That was for the Far East only and in Ireland it was a dessert - yum - tinned Ambrosia Creamed Rice was a real treat. Semolina was another dessert favourite.
Pasta also never graced our table in Ireland. You could get as close as tinned Spaghetti in Tomato Sauce but that was it. Pizza was something I used to see in the Hi & Lois cartoon and wondered about it.

The strangest things we used to eat were black pudding as part of a fried breakfast and tripe for an evening meal. That got spoiled a bit when someone blurted out what these items really were. You just had to 'grin and bear it' once a month or so.

I love food. I enjoy eating. I am fond of spicy food but was very wary when I was growing up. I remember my mom making Chilli Con Carne a few times and how weird it was... so different, so strange to a staid, young Irish palate. I never dared have a curry for a long time but love 'em now. Got tired of hearing Take Ger's out of the pot before you put in the curry powder.
The bloody weakie. Can't he take a bit a spice?

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