Sunday 21 January 2018

What makes a real Irish breakfast?

Con Houlihan
Con Houlihan

Let us take a break today from the academic world -- and talk about food and perhaps drink. A neighbour of mine who is a famous chef gave a series of talks a few years ago on Radio Eireann. Time and again he emphasised that the best way to start the day is with a good plate of porridge. I couldn't agree less.

Samuel Johnson was spot on when in his Dictionary he defined "oats" as food for horses in England and for people in Scotland. To anyone who has been in a prison or in a boarding school -- there is little difference -- the very word makes the soul turn cold. I have never seen porridge mentioned in those traditional Irish breakfasts we read about in the coloured supplements.

Perhaps those breakfasts exist in real life: as I am rarely in upmarket hotels, I don't know. And I cannot guarantee our visitors that they will enjoy sloe-eyed colleens playing the harp and singing She Moves Through The Mart. All I know is that the traditional breakfast in rural Ireland began with black pudding.

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