The first week of our four weeks in Ireland (July 2013) was spent in two different B&Bs, Kirrary in Dingle and Avondale in Cork City. Both served similar delicious breakfasts—the Irish Fry. Although a “good ” breakfast seems to be dead in America, it is alive and well in Ireland, at least at B&Bs. Irish Fry consists of rashers, bangers, black or white pudding, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, soda bread or brown bread, scones, and potatoes. Fruit and yogurt are also offered along with tea or juice.
Right now you may be asking, “What are rashers?” Rashers are a thin loin cut of the pig and similar in shape to a pork chop. Bangers? They are a very lean ground pork sausage and have what my sister and I call a “creamy texture.” To us, they felt strange as we chewed them; it’s like they weren’t really cooked, but of course they were. And then there’s the black and white pudding. It is not what an America would think it is. White pudding is ground pork and oatmeal with seasonings. Black pudding has pig blood added for color—yep, you read that right. Shaped like a large sausage, they are sliced and fried.
Mushrooms and tomatoes are sautéed. Eggs are served as desired. Soda bread is served with gooseberry or other jams.
Speaking of soda bread, it has been popular in Ireland for almost 200 years. It has evolved from a Potato Famine necessity into specialized recipes; however, it is basically flour, salt, soda, and buttermilk.
Irish Fry is a hearty breakfast that sustains you for many hours. It was perfect for our jaunts through cemeteries looking for our O’Keeffe ancestors or climbing up to castles. We loved this breakfast so much that when we spent our last three weeks in Park South Self Catering in Doneraile, we made several trips to O’Keefe Butcher shop (another shop, but no relation to us) to buy our rashers, bangers, and black and white pudding. My sister, Pat, learned to cook Irish Fry to perfection.
I am thinking that next St. Patrick’s Day, instead of Irish pasties and corned beef cabbage (see my St. Patrick’s Day blog) my family should have an Irish Fry—that is, if we can purchase all the necessary items in Seattle specialty markets or online.