Ireland is a nation known for its delicious fresh produce, seafood and breads. However, did you know that the Irish diet largely revolves around dairy?
This was the case for centuries until potatoes arrived on the scene in the 16th century. The influx of cheap and abundant potato crops led to a massive population boom.
The Irish diet is heavy with meat, especially beef and pork. Other common types of meat include chicken, lamb and venison.
In medieval times, pigs and cows were domesticated to produce milk, which was an essential food in the diet of many people. Cow milk was boiled to make a variety of dairy products, such as cheeses and curds.
In addition to dairy, the Irish diet also included oats, wheat and barley. These grains were either cooked as porridge or made into bread. Grains were eaten as an important part of the pre-potato Irish diet, and some people even grew their own.
The irish diet has remained relatively unchanged since the time of the Celts, revolving around dairy, grain, meat and vegetables. The diet has been influenced by changes in food availability, but a traditional Irish diet remains the basis for the modern selection of foods familiar to today’s population.
Grains are a major staple of the irish diet, especially oats and barley. Oats can be stored for a long period of time and are an excellent source of fibre, while barley is a good source of protein.
Vegetables are an important part of the irish diet, with many people including vegetables in their meals throughout the day. During the winter months, the Irish enjoy a hearty vegetable soup, which is a low fat and nutrient rich meal.
Fruit and vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet and consuming them is recommended by dietary guidelines in Ireland. Despite this, the average consumption of fruits and vegetables in Ireland is lower than the recommended amount of 5 portions per day (Reference Ipsos).
The Irish diet has been centred on cows, milk and dairy products for a long time. There is evidence of milk consumption and cheesemaking in many accounts of Ireland, dating back to prehistoric times.
In the medieval period, when a relatively healthy and well-nourished population was present in Ireland, dairy may have been slightly overrepresented, but overall the average citizen would have had a fairly diverse and whole food-based diet.
It was not until the 1800s that dairy became removed from the diet, due to a change in landholding and agricultural practices. In the early 1900s the traditional dairy products re-emerged, and are still a big part of our diet today, with one of the lowest rates of lactose intolerance in the world.
Dairy has a key role to play in our health and wellbeing. It can help us maintain a healthy body weight, and is high in nutrients that have been shown to improve our health.
Dublin coddle is a hearty, stew-like dish made with bacon and pork sausages, onions, potatoes, and a thick gravy. It’s one of the most popular dishes in Ireland and is often served with soda bread.
It’s considered a working-class dish that is usually made from leftover meat and root vegetables. Like shepherd’s pie, it’s an easy meal to make and a great use of any scraps or bits of meat.
Traditionally, coddle was served for supper on Thursdays in Irish Catholic homes because Fridays were generally meatless days. Housewives would make up a large batch of this stew and cook it in the oven for hours until it was done.
Dublin coddle is a comfort food that’s perfect for cold winter days. It’s a rich and hearty dish that can stand cooking in the oven for several hours without losing any flavor or quality.