THE GREAT IRISH COOK-OFF
Two new cookbooks — or cookery books, as the Irish would say — are tackling that country’s cuisine in markedly different ways. An Irish Country Table by Irish-Canadian writer Patrick Taylor (Forge) is based on the author’s bestselling series of cozy novels about a doctor’s apprentice in the Northern Ireland town of Ballybucklebo. Along with 10 short, atmospheric stories told by housekeeper Kinky Kincaid, the book gathers mostly traditional recipes that range from homespun (beef and Guinness stew) to elegant (Strangford sea scallops marinated with mango, avocado, and chili salsa). Some of the more intriguing fare includes barmbrack, a sweet honey-glazed bread made at Halloween with brewed black tea and whiskey. There are also mussels in Guinness and a one-pot meal called Dublin Coddle, which was often made on Thursday evenings to use up all the week’s meat products before Friday. The dish comes with a literary pedigree: It’s said to have been a favorite of Jonathan Swift’s, and James Joyce also makes reference to it in several works. Cooked in a lidded pan, it’s hearty if not heart-healthy, combining pork sausages, bacon, butter, onions, potatoes, and chicken stock.