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Bog butter, oysters, oatcakes, and barley loaves... Have you ever eaten the real traditional Irish foods?

Anyone can tell you that our typical diet has changed since our parents’ and grandparents’ time, and is still changing today. Here, Alex Meehan explores what makes an ‘Irish diet.’

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Chef JP McMahon, author of The Irish Cookbook. Photograph by: Andrew Downes

Chef JP McMahon, author of The Irish Cookbook. Photograph by: Andrew Downes

The Irish diet has changed hugely through the generations. Once, a roast chicken would have been a rare treat, but now it's a regular week-night meal

The Irish diet has changed hugely through the generations. Once, a roast chicken would have been a rare treat, but now it's a regular week-night meal

Graeme Dodrill, head chef at Peploe's. Photograph by Con O'Donoghue

Graeme Dodrill, head chef at Peploe's. Photograph by Con O'Donoghue

Are traditional dishes like Irish stew still representative of our palate?

Are traditional dishes like Irish stew still representative of our palate?

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Chef JP McMahon, author of The Irish Cookbook. Photograph by: Andrew Downes

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the small village of Avoca in Co Wicklow was not exactly cosmopolitan. But though I didn’t realise it then, the food that my parents served up to my four siblings and me was more than a little unusual.

We routinely ate things like spaghetti with meatballs, home-made lasagne and New York diner-style desserts like Boston cream pie, along with spicy tacos and enchiladas. A macrobiotic-food phase, meanwhile, saw my mother pile up our plates with grains and pulses, much to our general horror.


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