I am starting to really appreciate and LOVE the food here in Ireland. Yes, I know what you are thinking…the Irish are not really known for their cuisine. I am not necessarily talking about the traditional Irish dishes or a traditional Irish breakfast (I still haven’t learned to love black and white pudding). For those of you not from Ireland, I haven’t quite figured out what black and white pudding is. I know it is some sort of sausage and that black pudding does, in fact, include blood. I also know it doesn’t taste horrible, but it isn’t my favorite either.
I love the produce here in Ireland. Most of what I buy is from right here on the island. The carrots and red peppers here are so delicious and fresh they almost taste like candy. There is also this weird leaf that comes in the “baby leaf greens” package from Lidl that looks like it was picked right from your back yard, and you question if you should eat it, but then when you do it is the most delicious lettuce you have ever eaten. The cheddar cheese is AMAZING here, and it makes you appreciate it even more when it is hard to find cheese NOT from Ireland here, and everywhere you drive on the island you can see cows munching on the grass. Side note: Did you know that grass fed beef actually has omega-3 fatty acids in it? Yes, just like salmon! The eggs are pretty delicious here as well, they are so fresh that I actually find chicken feathers in the egg carton!
Consistent with the rest of Europe, I will buy fresh bread, milk, and produce at least 2-3 times per week. I HAVE to do this for a couple of reasons. 1. Food is so fresh here, it actually doesn’t keep, even in the refrigerator, for more than 2-4 days. 2. My refrigerator is so small that we run out of food after 2-4 days. For those of you Americans, you might be thinking, “what a pain to have to do a grocery run 2-3 times a week”, and that is what I thought at first too. Surprisingly, I have come to enjoy that about living here. I find that my food is so much fresher and tastes so much better that it is worth it!
Contrary to the saying, “Bigger is Better”, which is what we are used to in America. The Irish seem to say “Fresher is Better”, and so typically things come in smaller packages to keep things fresh. I definitely understand the idea of “getting more for your money”, but are you really getting more? Maybe you are just getting lower quality, mass produced, to be blunt “Rubish” to eat. Wouldn’t you rather pay a bit more for better quality, super delicious, and fresh food? I would!
Here is just one example of food being fresher here:
Heinz Tomato Ketchup. You would think it is the same here as in America, right? Wrong. Here is a photo I just took of the ketchup I bought at the store yesterday:
The ingredients in American Heinz Tomato Ketchup include high fructose corn syrup and some other ingredients to make it thicker. The ketchup we ate last night slightly runnier than the American version, but tasted amazing!
I have discovered that I am a “realist” when it comes to what I eat. I would rather eat real butter, real cream, fresh produce, fresh beef and chicken, and real chocolate than a lower-fat, or more highly processed option. I will eat a little less of the “real thing” so I don’t go overboard on calories, but amazingly I am more satisfied with a little of the real thing than a lot of “the other stuff”. It’s just something to think about.