Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Irish Woman

Patti: Hello, Angie! Thanks for offering to be a part of the release of my debut novel, An Irishwoman’s Tale.

Angie: You are so welcome. Would you tell us a little about your book, Patti?

Patti: This contemporary women’s fiction story explores an impetuous Irishwoman’s first memories: A shattered cup. Cheap tea. Bitter voices asking what’s to be done with the “little eejit.”

At age five, Mary Freeman was yanked from her beloved Irish cliffs, her beloved Mam. No one ever told her why. Even though forty-eight-year-old Mary has found contentment with a loving husband, beautiful girls, and satisfying volunteer work, that first memory has continued to haunt her. It takes her daughter’s substance abuse crisis to pull her back to Ireland where, over forty years later, God’s about to explain that first memory—and a few other things.

An Irishwoman’s Tale explores serious topics, including two homes blighted by sexual, physical, and mental abuse. Yet a gregarious Southern school teacher, a boisterous black waitress, a socialite/former home economics teacher, and a lively Irish grandmother add humor, wisdom—and lots of good eats to the story! We’ve got soul food, fresh fruit smoothies—even Irish blood pudding! I’ll spare you THAT recipe and share the recipe for Irish coddle, a dish Mary’s loving grandmother prepared on Sabbath night.

Angie: That sounds like a great book! Now, you have one more request to fulfill. Would you share that authentic Irish dish?

Patti: Here it is, Irish Coddle?

Saturday night supper for the Dublin working man was a traditional dish in his family. The amount of bacon and sausage would depend on the financial circumstances at the moment. Original Dublin versions didn’t call for browning the meat, but most American versions do.

Irish Coddle
• 1/2 to 1 lb. thick sliced bacon
• 1/2 to 1 lb. pork sausage or ground meat
• 3 medium-sized onions, chopped
• 3 medium-sized potatoes, diced
• Chopped parsley, salt, and pepper to taste
• 1 to 1 1/2 cup water

1. Brown bacon and sausage in a heavy frying pan. Drain on paper towels, then crumble bacon and slice sausage.
2. Arrange bacon and sausages in a casserole or heavy kettle.
3. Slice onions and arrange on bacon and sausages. Pare and slice potatoes and place on top of onions. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Sprinkle layers of onions and potatoes with salt, pepper, and parsley to taste. The amount of salt added will depend on saltiness of bacon and sausage.
4. Discard all but a tablespoon or two of the drippings in the frying pan. Add 1 cup of water to drippings and bring to a boil. Pour over Coddle. If needed, add additional water to nearly cover potatoes. Wrap dish with foil and bake at 350 until potatoes and onions are very tender, about 1 hour. Uncover for last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking and brown slightly, if desired.
Any leftover meat or veggies can be used. Adjust liquid accordingly. Enjoy this taste of Ireland! And thank you, Angie, for allowing me to visit your home!

Patti Lacy, debut author of An Irishwoman’s Tale

Angie: Thank you! Can't wait to enjoy the flavor of Ireland.
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