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BellaOnline's Irish Culture Editor

The Creators Book Review

"A collection of stories about the people behind some of Ireland’s best fresh produce and artisan specialities, The Creators is written for anyone for whom buying, cooking and eating good food is one of life’s ultimate pleasures.”

Anyone with Irish ancestry, who is into Irish history, or doesn't even eat, but simply enjoys some of the most stunning photography of the Irish countryside ever published will cherish this book.

Irish cooking got a bad rap. Let's remember that Ireland was a poor little country with bad luck. When your staple food item rots in the fields, world wars occur with distressing regularity, and the economy sucks, it's tough to be creative with food and feed big families---but the Irish did it. Every day Irish Mammys heated the stove and fed the children, somehow.

A quiet, gastronomic revolution has been occurring in Ireland for the past 30 years. While there is tremendous respect for the “old fashioned” ways of traditional Irish cooking, there is also a tremendous hunger for a variety of modern cuisine. Anyone who has not visited Ireland recently will be pleasantly surprised by the abundance and variety of foods available there now. One thing the European Union did accomplish was to bring an amazing variety of fresh produce, fish, and meats into the Irish groceries and markets.

Cork City has become a center for diversified food produce and the area has become internationally known as the largest region in the country for organic and “natural” food production. Dianne Curtin, the author of the book, (along with her photographer husband, Philip) explain the drive behind organic farming with breath-taking photographs and include some traditional, some modern, and some very “haute cuisine” recipes for the delectation of the reader.

The recipes and the products described evoke sights and smells of bygone days and create a yearning for the natural food that was the mainstay of Irish cooking before the processed-food fads (Yes, there's plenty of bad food in Ireland!)

There are many delicious recipes that are within the abilities of the home cook, not always the case with a special book like this, but the stories and anecdotes remind us of the truths of Ireland's agricultural majesty and the hunger for natural, good foods that drives the work is the real joy here.

Bon appetit!

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