Think Irish cooking is all cabbage and potatoes? Think again. Like many traditions in Ireland, there is a rich history behind the cuisine. We've compiled a glossary of traditional Irish foods that explains what's behind (and in!) all those well-known Emerald Isle dishes. Grab a pint of Guinness and get ready to toast to the wonders of Celtic cookery. Salainte!
Bangers and Mash
The king of comfort foods, bangers and mash consists of sausage (traditionally made from pork in Ireland), mashed potatoes and gravy. The combo is also popular in England, and many scholars say the name "bangers" originated around World War II, referring to the way high water-content sausages would explode when fried.
One of Ireland's most traditional foods, Boxty is a fried potato pancake that can be traced deep into the culture's gastronomical history. Modern boxty is often flavored with garlic and a variety of spices.
Corned beef and cabbage, probably the best known "Irish" meal in the United States and the traditional St. Paddy's Day fare for many Americans, has actually never been very popular in Ireland. This is most likely because cattle were coveted and beef was an expensive delicacy until recently. Although many Irish-Americans do serve the dish, you're more likely to see fried or boiled bacon with a side of cabbage on tables in the Emerald Isle.
Often served for special occasions like St. Patrick's Day, Dublin Lawyer is a rich dish consisting of lobster served in a heavy, whiskey-infused sauce. No one knows where the name really came from, but we're sure you can make a few creative guesses.
You can find this famous dish, which mixes lamb, beef or mutton with veggies and broth, at restaurants all over the world. Along with coddle-another hardy soup that includes boiled pork, potatoes and onions-Irish stew is often made with a little Guinness. It's traditionally served over mashed potatoes.
Other popular dishes include:
Crubeens are salted pigs feet-known as trotters-that are cooked (often fried) and usually eaten with the fingers. Mmm. Sometimes they are served with a side of cabbage.
Drisheen is cooked inside an animal intestine casing, like sausage, but it's basically a blood pudding (yep, it's made from cow, pig or sheep blood) that includes a mixture of milk, salt, fat, breadcrumbs and herbs.
If you have a sweet tooth on St. Paddy's Day, you can cook up this simple, pudding-like dessert of boiled bread, milk, sugar and spices.