Gone are the days when food was something other people ate. Now everyone is atin’ it. We never had food when we were growing up. We just had Da Breakfast, Da Dinner and Da Tay. Da Supper was just cocoa and the odd biscuit. Food was something we saw in magazines on plates the likes of which you'd only take out for the Yanks as part of the ‘let's pretend we're something we're not’ annual campaign, when we'd sip tay, sorry tea out of blue willow cups with dainty fingers. And then we'd cover the table with food the likes of which we'd never ate and the likes of which they'd never ate and we'd depart then each thinking the other had the oddest taste in food ever.
And we'd be glad when they went back cos then we could get back to the Dinner and Da Tay and to believing that Captain Birdseye really existed.
'Tis hard to believe that less than two centuries after there was no food in this country, that we now embrace it and celebrate it, not just the mere availability of it, but the sheer variety of it. There is no denying that our cuisine has been shaped by the social and political landscape of this country over the past few hundred years. That 800 years of oppression had us believing that we should be glad to get anything at all. What do you mean, potato gratin, you ungrateful serf.
Gone are the days when Irish cuisine was getting a pot full of vegetables and boiling the arse out of it for nine hours over a turf fire until you could suck it through a straw; gone are the days when we ate corned beef sandwiches cos we couldn't afford ham - now Irish food is sexy. It's throbbing with sensuality. Irish men and women tune in to see sexy chefs of both gender fondling food and rubbing floury hands on themselves.
Men are sitting in darkened rooms watching Rachel Allen and Catherine Fulvio grapple with courgettes and cucumbers; Women are salivating about running their fingers through Donal Skehan's hair or JP McMahon's beard...suddenly the man in the market selling sandwiches becomes an icon of virility; food is sexy.
And if Irish food is sexy, then Galway food is the new kid on the block on the street of sexiness. Where once you'd be happy to get a Michelin tyre on Bonfire Night, now there are Michelin stars floating around the city, there are cute eateries popping up in the strangest corners ( ‘cos rents are cheaper in cute corners ); food is the new property porn. "what d'ya mean ya havent eaten in Loam?" Eyes roll to heaven and you feel shamed. What do you mean there's a new restaurant open for the past half an hour and you haven't eaten there yet!!!!
Every week there's an eaterie opening or moving or changing their style in the city and county. I know of four that are opening/moving/planning this month alone.
And we start calling 'skones' scones; and you have to have the perfect roll of the tongue for your 'pain au chocolat’ and you're fecked if you can't taste the texture or the fabric or can share just how ridden was the angst of the chef who pored and indeed poured over this so that you could have a culinary experience to share at Monday's water cooler.
And so this weekend in order to show off this new found culinary confidence, we welcome the foodies to the city and even those people who are not foodies but who just eat food and like it and want to talk about it — hey's that not a foodie, that's you and me...
Now, here are a list of some of the uniquely Galway dishes that will be served to the tens of thousands of foodies who will descend on the city to airkiss and mwah this weekend
Spicy Lam — A dish like revenge which is best served cold. Served on those countless occasions when some injustice has been done to Connacht Rugby or a referee has flatly refused to park his car in the proper location. Spicy Lam is a costly dish as a mere mouthful can set you back about €8,000 and a touchline ban.
Toe-ed In The Hole — A little known delicacy known only to robust Junior B GAA forwards being markered by dogged full backs. Served as a starter to a 'kerfuffle', the Toe-ed In The Hole is served in the absence of a “dead-leg'
Chicken Madra — Make up your mind. It's either fowl or canine. Or a chicken killed by a rescue dog. Delish.... Feel the soft fall of the feathers on the succulent meat.
Organic route vegetables — Experience the power of the route vegetables,. Savour the taste as you sit there in your house, ignore the bulldozer coming through the sitting room if you’re on the chosen route.
Breakfast Roll — The symbol of Paddy power. A full Irish in between two long baguettes. This dish is the reason we have Croi. If there were no breakfast rolls, there'd be no Croi.
Apple Rumble — A delightful dish to surprise the palate on a Monday morning when your local sleepy village is suddenly announced as the new location for the world's sexiest company. Apple Rumble is that feeling of jealousy you hear from other towns and cities. Served on a bed of begrudgery.
Traditional Pasty — The traditional pasty, the ideal summer dish. Served in the Eyre Square area as anally retentive civil servants and accountant types descend from their offices to eat egg sandwoches and allow the sun on them to get rid of the pasty look.
Poached Salmon — Experience the delight of the thrill, the rush of the Corribside chase as your fish bears all the hallmarks of having been dragged by a few men as they run through rushes in the dark chased by the daring Fisheries Officers. Insist that your salmon is not the farmed and paid for stuff. Make sure it is poached. And served with cream, whipped from some other shop.
Spotted Dick - No weekend visit to Galway is complete without a Spotted Dick. Delightful when served with a dose of penicillin. For the man who has everything.
So that’s it. There is loads to see and eat around the city. Get there, taste it and enjoy.