Cookbooks serve up rich taste of Ireland

  • Article by: JUDY HEVRDEJS , Chicago Tribune
  • Updated: March 12, 2014 - 3:19 PM

"My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve," by Cathal Armstrong and David Hagedorn (Ten Speed Press, $35). (MCT) ORG XMIT: 1150002

You need not have cousins in Cork or County Mayo to stir up a few Irish dishes. Not when you have this trio of new cookbooks with their enticing recipes and beautiful photos.

Take “My Irish Table” by Cathal Armstrong and David Hagedorn (Ten Speed Press, $35). Dublin-born Armstrong, the much-celebrated chef of several Washington-area restaurants, fills the book with traditional Irish recipes (Dublin coddle), family favorites (Auntie Joan’s barmbrack) and restaurant selections. The glossary and tips (e.g. how to make Dublin spice or shop for kidneys) season his story, from growing up in Ireland (where St. Patrick’s Day is a solemn holiday) to earning his stripes in the restaurant world.

You won’t need an Irish granny with “Irish Country Cooking,” a charming book from the Irish Countrywomen’s Association (Sterling Epicure, $24.95). Built on more than a century of practical experience (condensed into pages of tips), the book’s recipes “from the homes of ordinary women” are a mix of traditional and contemporary, with each contributor noted. The recipe for parsnip and apples? It’s from Anne Gabbett, Limerick, a dairy farmer’s wife and home economics teacher.

“Irish Pantry: Traditional Breads, Preserves, and Goodies to Feed the Ones You Love,” by Noel McMeel with Lynn Marie Hulsman (Running Press, $27.50). McMeel, who hails from County Antrim, worked under Alice Waters at Chez Panisse and is now executive head chef at Lough Erne Resort in Northern Ireland, offers “old-fashioned methods” and practical guidance for “filling your larder” with condiments (say, rhubarb ketchup), cordials, potted and cured foods, pickles (pickled eggs, maybe), spice blends, dry mixes and more.

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