I admit to not knowing much about Irish cuisine. So when I got a chance to read this new cookbook about Irish chefs, I couldn't wait to dive in. So imagine my frustration when I started looking at The New Irish Table: Recipes from Ireland's Top Chefs and saw nothing but breathtaking pictures of the country--the gorgeous green fields, the soothing waters of the ocean, bits and pieces of the colorful cities and the people and the landmarks. And as if that's not enough, then there is page after page after page of amazing recipes from chefs who have won Michelin stars and James Beard awards, the chefs who teach and inspire and redefine what Irish cuisine is.
I was so irritated by all that that I set the book aside and refused to look at it again for weeks.
Why, you ask? If you liked the photography and the recipes and the all the amazing facts about Ireland so much, why did you get so mad, you ask. Well, let me tell you.
It was just a book. After all that, I wanted plane tickets to head right over to the Emerald Isle and experience it all for myself! I want to be there right now, seeing the land and meeting the people and eating the food (oh! the food!). These recipes are absolutely mouth-watering! There are recipes for Derry Clarke's Vodka-Cured Irish Salmon with Avocado Cream, Pickled Vegetables and Horseradish Mayonnaise and Catherine Fulvio's Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes; Darina Allen's Roast Lamb with Mint Sauce and Glazed Carrots and Ultan Cooke's Rose Water Creme Brulee. And so, so many more. Seafood, poultry, vegetables, salads, soups, desserts--there are recipes for anything you might be hungry for and for dishes I am not nearly creative enough to come up with on my own.
The recipes are user friendly, with both European and American measurements, and offer ideas for substitutions for those of us not lucky enough to have easy access to some of their most Irish ingredients. And there are lots of beautiful photos to use as guides (or just to drool over) as you're looking through and cooking through the pages.
The book is divided up into the four provinces: Munster, Ulster, Leinster, and Connacht. So if you're like me and geography-deficient, it helps to have this as a guide to the country and the food. I know it's helped give me an understanding of Ireland and its many, many, many offerings. I can't wait for the day that I finally get over there and see it and taste it all for myself. But until then, I've got this gorgeous cookbook to return to, like a dream of a trip I've yet to take.
Galleys of The New Irish Table were provided by the publisher through NetGalley.com.