Real Irish Food150 Classic Recipes from the Old Country

From hearty roasts to innovative vegetable dishes, from trays of fresh-baked scones to rich, eggy cakes, and from jams bursting with tart fruit to everything you can do with a potato, there’s no food so warm and welcoming, so homey and family-oriented, so truly mouthwatering as real Irish food.

People in Ireland are sometimes mortified by what Americans think of as “Irish food.” That’s because the real thing is much subtler and more delicious than any platter of overcooked corned beef and mushy cabbage could ever be. Real Irish food is brown soda bread so moist it barely needs the yolk-yellow butter; fragrant apple tarts with tender, golden crusts; rich stews redolent of meaty gravy and sweet carrots; crisp-edged potato cakes flipped hot from a skillet directly onto the plate. Forget meatloaf or mac and cheese—this stuff is the original comfort food. 

Real Irish Food is the first comprehensive cookbook to bring classic Irish dishes to America with an eye for American kitchens and cooks, and with tips and tricks to help reproduce Irish results with American ingredients. Transform plain white fish by baking it with grated sharp cheese, mustard, and crumbs. Discover that celery takes on new life when sliced, simmered in chicken stock, and served in a lightly thickened sauce. 

DAVID BOWERS is a food writer and photographer. He writes an award-winning grilling column for Cabin Life magazine, and he is the author of Bake It Like a Man,Dad’s Own Housekeeping Book, and Real Irish Food. Bowers lives in New York City with his wife and two sons.

“To Read: Real Irish Food [will] set you up nicely for St. Patrick’s Day and beyond . . . lavishly photographed [with] quite simple recipes for fish pies, mashed potato dishes, soda breads, scones and the like.”

—The New York Times

“Real Irish Food . .. upends long-held notions of Irish cooking.”
“Step away from green beer and overcooked cabbage. Instead, grab David Bowers’Real Irish Food: 150 Classic Recipes From the Old Country . . . New Yorker Bowers, born in County Galway and raised in Dublin, brings a knowledge of both kitchens to this volume.”
—Chicago Tribune
“Destroying long-held perceptions isn’t necessarily the aim of today’s cookbook author, yet that’s exactly what transplanted Dublin chef Bowers does, along with some very seductive photographs of his own. Through his personal introduction and an enjoyable narrative in every chapter’s upfront section, and every recipe’s preface, we learn, for instance, that corned beef and cabbage is a poor representation of Irish cuisine (and fish and chips, for that matter). Instead, expressing the same sentiment as his counterparts throughout the world, he insists the best prepared “native” foodstuffs rely on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients that nod to special traditions. A hearty breakfast defines the Irish heritage; he goes a few steps further than the porridge and Irish sausage routine by featuring tailored-to-contemporary-tastes vegetarian fry. Every one of his dozen topics, in fact, melds the past and present of the best in Irish culinary lore, along with explanations galore (e.g., “We’re not so big on little fiddly sweets . . . . we tend to like our sweets a bit more understated”). Recipes aren’t necessarily compact or time-compressed or calorie-conscious; the final dish, though, will more than meet eaters’ satisfaction, regardless of nationality.”
—Booklist (starred review)
“If you’re interested in learning about classic Irish cooking I recommend Real Irish Food by David Bowers. . . .[Bowers] is a New York food writer and photographer who knows that real Irish food is rich stews, fresh seafood and lovely baked tarts, scones and brown bread. The recipes are accompanied by charming anecdotes from his boyhood in Ireland, along with tips for getting Irish tastes with American ingredients.”
—The Miami Herald