Ireland's Green Larder

By Margaret Hickey

A glorious ramble down the centuries telling the story of food and drink in Ireland

Saturday, 25 March 2017

A traveller's food diary and updates on our progress

Here is a photograph of some really delicious prawns I had on a recent trip to central America. The people of Costa Rica are not wealthy, and I was interested in the way their staple is the very simple combination of rice and black beans. The staple for the very poor in Ireland was, as we know, potatoes. But Costa Rica also produces some marvellous fruit and, because it has both a Caribbean and a Pacific coast, the seas produce abundant seafood.

The typical way that the rice and beans are served is as gallo pinto. The translation is speckled hen, and I suppose the flecks of black against the rice do call to mind the brindled feathers of a hen. But there is absolutely no chicken involved! Gallo pinto is the typical breakfast, often with eggs, but I'm intrigued that the main meal that is called casado also features rice and black beans but this time they are served side by side. Casado comes with meat or fish, plus salad and maybe those green plantains that are sliced, fried, mashed, refried to make patacones. Another vegetable you might come across is the yuca, aka cassava. I'll tell you about the chocolate tour I went on, but not this time.

In the meanwhile, I want to tell you how the funding is going. If you're reading this, you are one of my very precious supporters. Without you, I'd still be sitting with my work in a drawer. I'm currently on 62% and so I'm approaching the pinnacle of the mountain. But not there yet! If you know anyone at all who you think might also be interested in Ireland's Green Larder, then  please do give them a nudge to go to the little video and see if they could be tempted to pledge.

This coming Friday (31st March) at 6.30pm,  I'll be in Charlie Byrne's bookshop in Galway city, at the invitation of the wonderful Vinny Browne. In fact, I'll be interviewed by him on Wednesday night in his weekly arts programme which runs from 6 until 7pm.on Galway Bay FM. The Charlie Byrne's event will be a reading, a glass of wine, a sausage roll or two, courtesy of my marvellous pal Clarissa. And it will be even more special as two very dear friends will be flying in from London on that Friday morning. Joanna Kennedy is a most generous supporter of the book and has been my friend since we were students together at Trinity College many moons ago. And Julian Roberts has kindly agreed to illustrate my book and do the book jacket. He is a totally brilliant graphic designer (check out website. It's Irving and Co, but I don't dare break off this blog to check it in case I lose it) and he's here to soak up the atmosphere and get inspiration for the work he's doing on the book. I think oysters and Guinness might kick-start that inspiration.

I'll get back to you very soon. Thanks for your attention to this. I'll finish with a photo that wonderful Preeti Bansil, whom I met on my trip to Costa Rica, kindly took of me when I was learning to make spicy little chicken dumplings in the community hall at an agricultural community in Santa Rosa de Pocosol. My great pal Noelle Lynskey and I, plus another friend we made on that trip, Talitha Shaw, all learned how to cook Costa Rican style, courtesy of kind and patient Gisele, one of the community. Happy days!

It's happened again! This image looked upright on my own screen. But you get the idea! 


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