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Thursday, March 6, 2014


MY IRISH TABLE; recipes from the homeland and Restaurant Eve (Ten Speed Press, 2014; distr. Random House Canada, 272 pages, ISBN 978-1-60774-430-6, $35 US hard covers) is by Cathal Armstrong (an award-winning Irish chef with seven restaurants in the Washington DC area) and David Hagedorn (once a chef but now a food writer with the Washington Post). It comes with some heavy log rolling from Phyllis Richman and Alice Waters. The book was published relatively close to St. Patrick's Day, so I decided to have it jump the queue so this review will be released in a timely fashion. Ireland has much produce, dairy, seafood, and grass-fed meats, helped along by foreign investments. Armstrong talks about his Irish culinary heritage, and in memoirs here, writes about his progress from Dublin to Washington. One of the places he owns is named after his daughter Eve. Through it all, we learn that Armstrong is heavily involved with sustainability and local food movements, and is using his influences to heavily promote them. It is a great read. His book has 130 preps, mostly the Irish classics but tempered with his French culinary training. The arrangement is by topic: there are sections on Irish breakfasts, food his mother cooked, Friday fish days, special occasions (Sunday, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, birthday, Halloween, Christmas), preps from Restaurant Eve, garden food, breads, and desserts. There is a glossary, a resources list, and primers on sauces and stocks. Try an Irish Caesar salad, Irish BLT, pork belly with braised cabbage and poached apples, Irish coffee (of course), and Cashel Blue cheese and toasted pecan terrine with frisee and apple jam. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are conversion tables of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 89.


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