Coming into this trip, I didn’t know what to expect considering the topic of food. Their food customs and traditions are a little different from how we do things in the United States. The first thing that stood out to me after having a few meals in Ireland was the amount of soup that we had. Soup seems to be a large part of meal, included in either lunch or dinner. The soups are normally made with lots of vegetables and are the starters to meals. Coming from the U.S., having soup as a major staple for meals is new to me. At lunch they usually serve a soup with a sandwich and oftentimes have a few greens on the side. Here in Ireland, the soups are mostly vegetable based as I have seen throughout most of the meals. For example, I have had leek and potato soup, vegetable soup, butternut squash soup, and tomato soup. These soups are made by purreying multiple vegetables with a food processor into a thick substance that is sometimes creamy and sometimes chunky. Vegetable based soups are nutritious, less costly and a food product that almost anyone can eat-reaching a larger audience than some other meals, especially when made without gluten ingredients.
Another common staple for the meals here in Ireland is the bread. Bread comes with almost every meal and when we were able to cook our own meal in a group we bought two loaves of ciabatta bread from the local store. There are a lot of healthy choices for meals, as I have seen so far in our couple days. Vegetables, grains, starches and meats are the top four categories of food that we have experienced a lot of, which creates very balanced meals. The vegetables here are all very local which is better for both the consumers and the environment because there is a farm-to-table aspect and freshness. The woman that cooked for us at the ecovillage hostel, Johanna, explained to us that most of the vegetables she used for our lunches were from the community garden and that she always “checks the farm stand” before going to the market.
Soup, soup, soup and a side of bread was the main meal here in Ireland. I can’t complain because I love both of these foods, but sometimes it did get a little repetitive. Having an abundance of vegetable being grown locally in most of the villages that we ate was definitely to our advantage because of how unprocessed and fresh the food was. It also was helpful to us travelers to really get a grasp on the types of food that are popular here and definitely made sure that we got our recommended serving of vegetables every day!