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Ireland’s Green Larder : The Definitive History of Irish Food and Drink

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by Margaret Hickey
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This history of Irish food and drink is vividly readable and an impressive survey of several thousand years of hunting, gathering, farming, eating, and drinking.

Margaret Hickey, a former editor at Country Living, structures her account by types of food, from dairy and meat to poultry, produce, and spirits. Illustrative recipes appear here and there, but more interesting is her attention to quotations from period sources, among them a 9th-century description of the death of a fat pig as "one of the three deaths that are better than life." A 16th-century poets laments eating bad butter, and, in a scene from Ulysses, James Joyce recounts a bawdy joke about tea.

We could have wished for end notes or foot notes, and Hickey's sources are clearly more extensive than what appears in the brief bibliography.  But this book has breadth and charm enough that we hope it inspires or abets further scholarship on Irish food and drink.

Paperback.

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