Saturday, November 17, 2018

Where is the bacon? Musings from my vacation in Ireland

black and white pudding

I just returned from my vacation in Ireland or as the Irish would say, my holiday. I truly enjoy traveling the new places.  I love trying the regional dishes.  As unusual they sometimes seem at first, I simply say, "when in Rome, do as the Romans, do." Or, perhaps a more accurate statement would be, I will try anything... once.

My husband, on the other hand, tiptoes around anything new.  I have to give him credit, however, because if I tease him enough he will even take a tiny taste of say, black pudding.  

Black and white puddings are pretty popular in Ireland. What, you may ask, are black and white puddings?  To the American ear, the word pudding brings to mind, sweet and creamy desserts like chocolate or banana, or even tapioca. (Seriously, if we are talking about weird dishes here, what the heck is tapioca anyway?) 

But I digress.  White and black puddings are a type of breakfast sausage.  The white consists of sausage meats, seasonings, and some types of grain, like oatmeal.  The black sausage is a blood sausage.  Yup, that's what I said. It has the same ingredients as the white pudding with the addition of blood.  So the white pudding tastes like a mildly seasoned and less greasy pork sausage patty.  The black pudding tastes very similar, but the thought of cooked blood is hard to get out of your head.

White and black puddings are on all the breakfast menus in Ireland, as are baked beans.  What?  Did I really say baked beans, the staple of all American backyard cookouts?  Well, yes, I did.  Baked beans like the kind you sometimes got out of a can when you had hot dogs are a staple of the Irish breakfast.  It's as common a side dish as hash browns are in American breakfasts.  

Not being a bean eater even with hot dogs, I avoided the stuff which husband dear ate eagerly. Guess he had a lot of hot dogs as a kid.

The oddest thing, I think, was the lack of bacon.  It wasn't a total surprise since I’d already experienced that omission in Greece.  Order a bacon cheeseburger in Greece and your burger will not be topped with a crispy strip of smoky goodness, but a big honking slice of ham.

Ireland it seems feels the same way about bacon.  Yes, breakfast menus listed, juicy bacon as a side but you soon discover it is, again, ham.  You get used to it, however, so when you see the word bacon you are not as surprised.  What is it Shakespeare said?“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.  I think old Will was talking about bacon here. And actually, ham is a lot healthier than bacon. 

I didn't go into McDonald's although they are all over the place so I cannot vouch for whether or not Micky Dees, is on board with the bacon/ham debate.

The food, all in all, was fantastic.  Everything, fresh and tasty and served with a pint of Guinness. Shoot, they use Guinness in everything, stew, tarts, and soups.  

Next post, castles, blarney stone and more fun things from the emerald isle.

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