Chicken Fingers & What?

Along our two-week journey, we stopped at several eateries offering various types of Irish cuisine. I noticed that breakfast foods often consist of cereal, toast, and if one is lucky enough to consume a sit-down breakfast, eggs and sausage. Another common meal generally eaten at dinnertime is bacon and cabbage– but the bacon in Ireland is not the same as bacon in the United States. What Americans know as ham is a term loosely used for what the Irish call bacon. Ham is also referred to as gammon, which I had never heard of before visiting the island of Inis Oírr. Similarly, what Americans know as chicken fingers and fries are referred to as chicken goujons and chips in Ireland– I received some puzzled looks when I tried to order chicken fingers and fries at lunch one day. It appears that meals offered in various regions of Ireland are generally quite similar, but methods of preparation are contrasted: for instance, vegetable soup is offered in practically every pub or restaurant, but no two soups will taste the same. Regardless of the differing terms used to describe the same foods, the overall quality and preparation of food in Ireland is much superior to the food in the United States – due to the abundance of farmland in the country, most markets source their products from local animal and agricultural facilities. At the Cloughjordan ecovillage in County Tipperary, Ireland, villagers use their 67-acre farm to grow their own fruits and vegetables for consumption rather than walking to the nearest market or grocery store. Because most American supermarkets import their products from long-distance regions of the world, it becomes difficult to distinguish exactly where these products originate. This incredibly different from the sustainable lifestyle seen in the ecovillage. Everything consumed by the villagers is fresh and absolutely delicious– after a mere three days of eating locally sourced produce, I felt a noticeable difference in my bodily health. Not only is the concept of eating local much healthier for the environment in preserving carbon emissions, but also eliminates the possibility of consuming harmful pesticides that are often found in market produce.

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