Sunday, December 02, 2012

Some simple things I ate in Ireland and England

A few years ago while traveling with a group in Turkey we trudged into the dining room of yet another awful "tour group" hotel.  First course on the menu: Mint soup. As we were thinking this concept over, a traveling companion at a nearby table leaned over and whispered that it was Cream of Scope.  Cracked me up. "Pass the Prilosec!" I asked my husband who was busy dosing himself with Tums.

Actually the mint soup was very good - not like the lentil soup we ate in Burma. The Burmese soup tasted fine but soon after eating it my nether parts seized up like I'd just drunk a bowl of Portland cement. With cast-iron stomachs we've been fortunate enough to eat just about anything, just about anywhere, with little ill effect. Of all things, I wouldn't have guessed a simple soup could harbor such consequences. I recovered quickly but am permanently divorced from lentils.

Both in Turkey and Burma, our interest was in history and seeing sights/sites. The food was OK but we had to budget our time and energy so we treated it as sustenance only. As we get older, we're eating more and more simply, especially while traveling. Too much food (and drink of course) knocks us both out.

Here's the kind of thing we look for - a lovely beet and berry soup served at Gorman's Hilltop Inn on the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland. Sorry (to my food photography friends) about the schmear on the edge. No Prilosec or Tums needed.

It was raining outside in the Irish way, soft and drizzly; we were happy to be indoors, watching the owner's beautiful lab through the dining room window. A well-behaved Inn dog he was always waiting patiently for the next guest!

Later that day when the skies cleared, we went for a walk and saw these handsome Irish ponies.

Here sit I, all alone with my multitude of condiments at breakfast in Clonakilty at Springfield House, Bed and Breakfast. The hostess loves little place mats. You'd never guess she'd set this kind of table because the house itself is quite austere. That's our rental car in front.


Clonakilty, a dot on the map, albeit a dot fairly close to Cork, is a spare and beautiful spot where green treeless hills swoop down to the sea. The landscape is broken up only by single lane, twisting, shoulderless roads and tidy farms here and there. David Mitchell, the author of Cloud Atlas, which our book club is reading this month, lives in Clonakilty and I wondered if he was immersed in this simple, uncomplicated setting when he created and wrote his fantastic and complex story. 

Back to what we ate: the simple charcuterie plate was available on most of the Irish restaurant menus. A perfect meal for traveling - compact and calorie dense, it refuels you with little bulk. 
We enjoyed the avocado on this plate...after a couple of weeks away, we started to miss our
daily dose.
 Potatoes came with everything in Ireland - even a salad.
Welsh Rarebit in the The Old Tea House in Winchcombe, England.
A terribly out of focus photo but the only one I have which shows the lovely Irish
summer days we were enjoying......
which provided an excuse for consuming copious amounts of Irish soda bread to generate warmth. 


  1. You are just the best travel writer. You should write a book!

  2. I just love traveling with you!!!!!!