Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Food: Recipes, cookbook reviews, food notes, and restaurant reviews. Unless otherwise noted, I have personally tried each recipe that gets its own page, but not necessarily recipes listed as part of a cookbook review.

Mimsy Review: In Good Taste

Reviewed by Jerry Stratton, January 6, 1998

Review of In Good Taste, with a recipe for Rich Carrot Soup.

PublisherIrish Countrywomen’s Association
Length166 pages
Book Rating6

“First published in 1992, produced in its entirety in Ireland.” Edited by Ina Broughall and Olive Nugent of the Irish Countrywomen’s Association, in association with the Cider Industry Council. So, you get lots of pork, cream, and cider. Monica Prendeville, National President of the ICA, ended her introduction with “go raibh mile maith agaibh go leir. Leabhair cochaireacht alainn i.” I believe this translates as “indulge today; exercise tomorrow”. These are not American low-fat worriers. These are rich, homey recipes with eggs and cheese and pork and beer and maybe some bacon and more pork on the side.

The sections are:

  • Starters: Only a few of these. “Prawn Stuffed Cucumber Cups” looks intriguing. Only a little pork in these five recipes.
  • Soup: Start getting into the ham now. Begins with “Bean Soup” (which takes a “knob” of margarine) which heads through “Nettle Soup” and ends with “Rich Carrot Soup”. Aren’t Nettles what Eeyore eats?
  • Fish: Lots of good fish cakes and creams and pies. An interesting story goes with the “Tri-Coloured Haddock”, which won a prize in 1972: “When I made this dish 20 years ago, curry was not very widely used. No one in the house would touch the lovely dish. I was lucky the judge liked the curry because it was the dog who ended up eating it in our house!” Just a guess, but the French are laughing in their graves at the very idea of an Irish cookbook.
  • Lamb: “Kidney Pancake” (it uses lamb kidneys), “Irish Stew”, “Mock Duck”, “Roast Mutton”, and “Spring Lamb Casserole” round out the entire Lamb chapter. In Ireland, sheep are probably valued more for their warm coats than their meat.
  • Beef: And cows more for their milk? Even fewer recipes for Bessie.
  • Pork and Bacon: But now we’ll none of that sparseness here. “Bacon and Pineapple”, “Baked Rashers (boy, that’s a tough one…), the traditional “Dublin Coddle”: “A glass of Guiness goes down well with a dish of coddle,” they say here. And here we have “Pork and Bacon Casserole”… just what was “Bacon”, again? This chapter ends off on “Tropical Island of Pork”, probably their equivalent of “Big Rock Candy Mountain”. Best chapter of the bunch, in my opinion, but I am a pork fan myself.
  • Poultry: Mostly chicken, but there are a few ducks with soft drinks (Duck with Cider, Duck in Orange Juice) and a turkey (with bacon, of course).
  • Vegetables and Vegetarian Dishes: “Vegetables” appears to be just another word for “Potatoes”. From Boxty through Colcannon to Potato Scones, they’ve all but a few got the apple of the Earth as an ingredient.
  • Salads: Only one potato salad and none with pork, this is another short chapter: five recipes on two pages.
  • Cheese, Egg, Pasta Dishes: Somewhat short, only the Welsh Rarebit is completely devoid of the beautiful pig. And the Rarebit makes up for it with cheddar and Guiness.
  • Puddings: ‘Puddings’ means something completely different in Ireland, as it includes “Apple and Cinnamon Pizza”, “Barbecue Bananas”, and “Lemon Cheesecake”.
  • Pastry: The pastry section is remarkably French (and devoid of pork) but leads directly to the more native…
  • Bread and Scones: Which wants us desperately to use brown bread, as they’ve got “Brown Bread for Beginners”, “Brown Bread”, “Brown Cake”, “Brown Soda Bread”, and (my favorite) “Casseroled Brown Bread”. Sounds like us and turkeys after Thanksgiving.
  • Small Cakes: Cookies, biscuits, brownies, and the like.
  • Large Cakes: What we consider as cake… sort of, as it also includes Fruit cakes (boiled, yum!) and Brewery Cake (which looks like a simple fruit cake with the addition of beer), something called “Brack” in three flavors, and to top off all this fat, a “Special Diet Recipe”, “Gluten Free Rich Fruit Cake”. Special Diet, in this case, appears to mean those on a gluten-free diet, not diet as in not wanting fat, as this recipe has it in spades and also includes a half glass of whiskey.
  • Irish Sweets: Marzipans, Marshmallows, and Creams. Oh my!
  • Sauces: Mostly Italian sauces, and a couple of dessert toppings.
  • Preserves: Gooseberry Jams, Mincemeat, “Uncooked Freezer Jam” (doesn’t that sound appetizing) and various Marmalades all lead up to the “Elderberry Pickle”. And, with a tip of the hat to the American South, “Green Tomato Chutney”.

Besides submissions from the members of the various guilds of the ICA, each embassy in Dublin was invited to submit recipes to “reflect the culinary heritage of women around the world.” The latter are all segregated off in an “International” chapter. Most interesting appears to be the ‘Feijoada’, from the wife of the Brazilian Ambassador. This Brazilian national dish contains seven kinds of meat, two of them German. The International section contains recipes from 17 ambassador’s wives, 4 ambassadors (all female), and one embassy (the Russian Federation either sent a joint recipe or didn’t bother to sign it).

The final chapter is a collection of cider recipes, selections from the Cider Industry Council’s recipe competition. You get “Fish Stewed in Cider”, “Gourmet Pork á la Cider”, “Pheasant in Cider”, and “Somerset Pies”, which takes 1/2 pint cider along with the bacon, rabbit, and the chicken stock. They all sound quite good, although I’m a little leary of the Cider Nut Chiffon Pie. There are some things Chiffon was not meant to know.

I certainly wouldn’t rush out to Ireland to grab a copy of this cookbook, and Amazon.Com doesn’t carry it. But if you happen to be in a bookstore in Dublin and are wondering which of the “local” cookbooks to pick up, you aren’t likely to go wrong with In Good Taste.

Rich Carrot Soup

  • 1 lb carrots,
  • 1 large potato,
  • 1 medium onion,
  • 1 oz butter,
  • ¾ pint water,
  • 1 oz rice,
  • salt and pepper,
  • 1 bay leaf,
  • ¼ pint milk,
  • ¼ pint cream.
  1. Peel and chop carrots, potato and onion roughly.
  2. Melt butter in saucepan and sauté vegetables, covered, five minutes without browning.
  3. Add water, rice, salt, pepper, bayleaf.
  4. Bring to boil, lower heat, simmer covered 1 hour.
  5. Remove from heat, remove bayleaf, rub through a sieve or liquidise.
  6. Return to saucepan, stir in milk and cream and reheat without boiling.
  7. Serve hot, sprinkled with chopped parsley.

In Good Taste

Recommendation: If you like cream and pork

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