Ireland’s Green Larder tells the story of food and drink in Ireland, for the first time. From the ancient system of the Céide Fields, established a thousand years before the Pyramids were built, right up to today’s thriving food scene.
Rather than focusing on battles and rulers, Margaret Hickey digs down to what has formed the day-to-day life of the people. It’s a glorious ramble through the centuries, drawing on diaries, letters, legal texts, ballads, government records, folklore and more. The story of how Queen Maeve died after being hit by a piece of hard cheese sits alongside a contemporary interview with one of Ireland’s magnificent cheese makers, and the tale of the author’s day in Clew Bay on the wild Atlantic coast, collecting the world’s freshest oysters, is countered by Jonathan Swift’s complaint about dubiously fresh salmon being sold on the streets of Dublin.
Beautifully illustrated and dotted with recipes, there are chapters covering everything from strong tea to the Irish rituals and superstitions associated with food and drink. With a light touch and a flair for finding the most telling details, Hickey draws on years of research to bring this sweeping history brilliantly to life.