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Unfashionable cuts that will make your mouth water

It’s now over 10 years ago when restaurants, reacting to the global financial crisis, started to pretend that slow-cooked pork belly is posh. And despite its subsequent ubiquity, it’s still pretty cheap. Unfashionable cuts of meat, like pork belly, which is otherwise destined to be turned into streaky bacon, are the saviours of restaurants that…

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Getting carried away by caraway

There are many benefits to gardening, not least of that it can afford a brief respite from the hurly burly of daily life, especially in these days of the pandemic when solitary pursuits have an added appeal. It can also introduce you to flavours that might be otherwise elusive. I mean, when did you last…

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They put their right foot in, their right foot out –a dance of death that puzzled doctors for centuries

Following on from the last issue’s overview of the ‘Laughter Epidemic’ of Tanganyika, let’s touch on another condition with bizarre and confusing symptoms that baffled doctors when it manifested in mainland Europe between the 14th and 17th Centuries. ‘Dancing mania’ – also known as ‘dancing plague’, ‘choreomania’, ‘St John’s Dance’, ‘tarantism’ and ‘St Vitus Dance’…

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Terroir – the future of whiskey

Thanks to the vision of Groupe Pernod-Ricard back in the 1980s, Irish whiskey was saved from virtual extinction and is now one of the fastest growing drinks sectors in the world. They put Jameson front and centre of their push to make Irish whiskey an international phenomenon rather than a fusty curiosity. And now, whiskey…

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On the complexity of calories

Can you remember what a calorie is? Let me see. My recollection is that it’s the energy required to raise the temperature of a litre of water by… er… um… a certain amount? So, clearly I had to check and it turns out that it’s the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of…

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An appreciation of olive oil

Just as there are wine snobs, there are olive oil snobs. When I was growing up, my mother used to buy Goodall’s olive oil in tiny bottles. I can still remember the attractive, fruity smell of this pretty basic stuff (we’re talking the early 1970s here) as it warmed in the pan. She was ahead…

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The divisive taste of liquorice

Liquorice is one of those flavours about which nobody seems to be neutral. You either like it or hate it. I’ve never heard anyone say that they can take it or leave it. In fact, I have a feeling that the majority of the Irish population gives it a very wide berth. There are very…

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Wandering the minefield of ‘true’ ethical eating

There is no straightforward path to guilt-free food consumption, writes Tom Doorley So, there goes Veganuary. I’ve no doubt it started well for lots of people, but I wonder how many are now sticking to an exclusively “plant-based” diet. I suspect veganism may have even less sticking power than calorie-controlled diets and New Year fitness…

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Time for a festive feast

I’m always amused when I read stuff about ‘how to have a stress-free Christmas’. They always assume that you want to create a monstrous feast comprising dozens of elements and the solution, it’s suggested, is just to do lots of planning and to execute everything with military precision. The only really useful advice seems to…

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Mushrooms- Putting the ‘fun’ in fungi

On a fine autumn morning, I am sometimes lured from my desk and into the woods in search of mushrooms. There was a time when I had no competition but in the last few years, possibly with the growth in our Eastern European population, that has changed. Last year, two people in Ireland came close…

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