When I travel, food is both the most interesting and the most troubling thing. I am very set in my eating routines as far as times and types of food I like to have. How I feel depends a lot on how and when I am eating. So when I travel, I tend to carry a lot of snacks, because I know I’ll get anxious if I’m trying to be on someone else’s eating schedule. That way I can just know that I’m able to stave off hunger of my own accord. That said, I also LOVE to try new and local things when I travel! I didn’t keep a record of all the things we ate in Ireland, but here are just a few thoughts.
- I am one of the few people on the world who actually enjoys airplane food. It's not necessarily the food itself (which is usually mediocre), but it's the excitement of all the little packages you get. I have a lot of respect for the creativity of the person who has to come up with meal ideas to make en masse and feed a wide variety of appetites. I love that you get a little individual loaf of bread with butter, and there always seems to be cheese and crackers as well. I scarf down every bite of every meal they bring by on the plane. On the way home yesterday we had a pizza panini and a little tub of ice cream as a snack. How fun!
- Breakfast can be the trickiest meal of the day for me because, more often than not, I wake up hungry. I also have learned the hard way that I need protein in my breakfast if I'm going to avoid having a food crisis within a short period of time. Our hotel had a breakfast option, but it was 9.99...EUROS. So, pretty expensive. Rather than try and meet up with family every morning for breakfast, I found myself venturing out to bring back goodies for Andy and me. Two mornings I went to a store that is kind of like 7-11, which I would not normally consider as an option in the States! But I was able to bring back fruits, yogurts, scones, and coffees for around 8 euros for both of us. Much better! I enjoyed trying unique flavors of yogurt like rhubarb and gooesberry. I also checked out a local bakery one morning as well. The last morning was Sunday, so the bakery was closed! But I found "portable porridge" in the grocery store--basically instant oatmeal, but it sounds so much more fun when it's called portable porridge.
- After the removal service on Thursday evening and the funeral mass and burial on Friday, family and friends all had an opportunity to gather for tea and sandwiches. Both places that catered to us provided trays upon trays of sandwiches, most of which were on plain white bread and all of which had ingredients that seemed unique to me! My favorite was the ham...with butter. I would have never thought to put butter on a sandwich!
- On the topic of lunches, it was great and inexpensive to go almost anywhere and grab a bowl of delicious creamy vegetable soup, which came with a good healthy chunk of Irish brown bread and, of course, good butter.
- Since we've established that I like food, and I have gotten a chance since knowing Andy to sample some fun Irish goodies, the vast majority of the souvenirs we brought back were food. Here's our haul: All kinds of chocolates and candies, as well as some mixes to make Irish brown bread and scones! My mother-in-law likes these mixes, so I feel like that gives them an Irish stamp of approval. A pack of Irish breakfast tea from Bewley's (a Dublin institution) and a silly Wacky Woolies cup round out the lot. We'll probably need help getting all this eaten!!
- I had fun trying different types of beverages while over there. It seemed like just about every night we were getting together with family for drinks, so I had ample opportunity. I know I like hard ciders, so I was excited to find this Irish brand: And here I am trying my first Guinness while on a tour of the Guinness Storehouse: (I was not a big fan, but when in Dublin you've gotta try "the black stuff.) I also had a really odd drink per the suggestion of one of Andy's cousins called WKD (pronounced "wicked") Blue. It was like a sugary blue soda with vodka in it. I don't know what flavor blue is, but it was definitely blue. I rounded out the trip with a good ole Bailey's Coffee, in its homeland. (I sound like I drank a lot, but these were all on separate nights! Exploratory tastings, we'll call them.)
Ultimately what I found is that the food is not so different from here! There are, of course, specialties, and I unfortunately didn’t get to indulge in a true Irish breakfast (which I bet I would love), but I had several traditional items like scones and fish and chips. The main difference I noticed was that there were a lot fewer fruits and vegetables included, at least at the restaurants. But when I asked Andy’s cousins what kinds of things they cook, it sounded pretty similar to what I eat here!