"Beetroot" when I mean "beets"

This one I have trouble remembering. I’ve easily made the switch from “eggplant” to “aubergine” and “zucchinni” to “courgette”, thanks to an undergrad degree in French. But I’m getting slightly puzzled looks because I keep asking for beets. Then I blush and think about the time I was tricked into saying “beets” aloud by a room full of 11-year-old French kids. I hope that word doesn’t have the same colloquial meaning here as it does in France.   

For dinner, let’s have The English Market!

For dinner, let’s have The English Market!

One thing which made me really excited about spending time in Cork City was to learn about Irish cheeses. Knockalara is one which Denis Cotter writes about and uses extensively in his cookbooks. Despite his helpful descriptions, I couldn’t imagine the sort of beast he was dealing with or what would make an apt replacement in Kentucky. So I skipped all those recipes.

The first time I handled knockalara here, it was like meeting Mr. Darcy out of Austen’s pages, or receiving my own acceptance letter to Hogwarts. “So you are real; you can be part of my life. You’re not just a made-up character of some of my favorite reading.”

It’s soft, creamy, very white, and delicious. I nipped tastes at the restaurant. Deciding to be a bit more legit about it, I bought a small quantity from The English Market a few days ago to have a more contemplative tasting.

The woman who helped me at the counter asked if I wanted the young (what I was familiar with) or mature (which looked hard, like a parmesan). I had no idea options existed. She informed me that they were two different cheeses; the mature isn’t just an older version of the young. Further distinctions are beyond my current ability to comment.

These people would know all about it, though.  

I ate a piece of Tunisian orange cake at Fellini’s Tearoom yesterday. Delicious. I’d never heard of this cake before but there are plenty of recipes for it online and even Tesco’s carries its own version. I can’t find anything about it’s history. Is it really Tunisian? 

I’m also surprised by the high-awareness and presence of vegan, vegetarian, and natural foods here in the shops, restaurants and cafes. I use the Quay Co-op both for groceries and toiletries and for their vegetarian restaurant. Today’s lunch came from The Natural Foods Bakery, which promises chemical-free, minimally-processed foods. I wonder what the ingredients for their egg-free mayo are?

Spelt is big here too. I’ve tried housemade spelt bread from The Wholy Grain (very good), a spelt roll-type-thing on my sandwich from The Natural Foods Bakery (okay), and a vegan spelt scone from the co-op (won’t be going back for another). I caught myself slathering butter on that vegan scone as I was finishing it up.

I’m no longer vegan (hence the butter incident) or even vegetarian. But I do enjoy foods of high quality and, when processed from their raw ingredients, prepared with mindfulness (you know— love). And, for some reason, I love it when vegan and vegetarian foods fit this bill. Maybe I’m still vegan at heart. I just have too much culinary curiosity to place strict limitations on my diet. In other words, I really like to eat.


"Sorry, love" when I mean "Please, move out of my way"

Beginning to think when I put my shoes on, the sun says to itself, “Quick! Hide before she gets out here!”

Surprisingly, Ireland has a large population of declared celiacs. I’ve come to understand celiac disease as arising from over-exposure to wheat, and when I think of Ireland I think of potatoes. That’s where my surprise comes from. It’s taken seriously here. The mass at St. Peter’s today offered a “celiac Eucharist”.  

I’ve switched small islands now. Just a few phrases I may be saying after returning home from this trip:

"Hiya" when I mean "Hi"

"Are you alright there?" when I mean "Can I help you?"

"Are you alright for wine?" when I mean "Would you like some more wine?"

"No hassles"…"No problem" or "you’re welcome"

"BACKS"…"Behind you" (most effective in kitchen context)

"Thanks a million"…"Thanks very much"

"You’re grand"…"Everything’s alright"