I have this fantasy that one day we will rent a cottage on a farm in the Irish countryside and that I might attend some courses at Darina Allen's famed Ballymaloe Cookery School in County Cork. [Rachel Allen is Darina Allen's daughter-in-law and also teaches at the school.] My husband has Irish ancestry––and has been to Ireland many times. I lived in England for a year as a college student, and also on a high school exchange program, and can't believe I didn't get to Ireland!
"This transporting book ... will delight anyone who wants to connect with such endangered domestic tasks as churning butter, foraging, and making homemade apple cider. Allen is an astounding teacher, and her enthusiasm for good things and old-fashioned thriftiness is impossible to resist. She shares stories, recipes, tips, and techniques that will inspire you to craft all sorts of staples that these days usually come in packages from the grocery store. Once you taste your own vinegar and bread and cheese, and get into the swing of making them, chances are, you won't go back to the modern way." –Fine Cooking, March 2010
This cookbook covers so many things that I've thought about making or will want to make now that we are raising our own meats, with many eggs to use and an abundance of fresh items in summer months. There is a significant section on seafood, lamb, beef, pork, eggs, dairy, produce, fruits and baked goods. I found this book, initially, when trying to find a good soda bread recipe the other day. While there are portions of the books I won't be able to use in central Kentucky, most of it will be a regular resource. There are recipes for salting and curing meats, making sausage and preserving fruits. Also, a chapter on foraging for salad greens, berries and mushrooms, even seaweed! Allen is a big advocate of using local produce or what is grown, or raised, on or around your own farm. It is also a lovely compendium of great food writing and beautiful color photography.
A little armchair-travel-cookery-schooling can never hurt, either. The textbook-like cover is sturdy (it's a whopping 600 pages!). At anywhere from $26-40, depending on where you buy it, it's a lot cheaper than flying to Ireland and spending $13,000 on a 12-week cookery course. Well, at least that's how I justified another cookbook for my collection.
You come back when you're ready!