Making a Meal out of it

by Henry on September 7, 2006

Making Light points us to Wikipedia’s Lamest Edit Wars which in turn refers to the epic battle over what makes an Irish Breakfast an Irish Breakfast. It’s a lovely example of how Wikipedia should work. The bizarre and repulsive heresies of the fried kidneys and the baked beans are duly anathematized and dispatched into limbo. A blatantly political attempt to assimilate the meal that nourished our fathers under the rubric of the entirely inferior morning repast of the Hated Anglo-Saxon Oppressor is vigorously repelled. And a harmonious consensus finally prevails, which not only correctly identifies the proper constituent parts (sausages, rashers, eggs, mushrooms and black and white puddings), but contains much useful information (e.g. Iarnrod Eireann breakfasts, the great expense of) for the interested inquirer.

These are serious matters. When in Belfast, one of my uncles once spotted a colleague declining to partake of the Ulster Fry that was provided for breakfast, and instead ordering muesli – with skim milk. He knew at once that the man wasn’t to be trusted.

{ 30 comments }

1

Kieran Healy 09.07.06 at 3:24 pm

Iarnrod Eireann breakfasts

Ah, Iarnrod Eireann’s Great Irish Breakfast. We used to get these on the morning train back to Cork from Dublin after _Irish Times_ rounds the night before. Colloquially known as the “Great Greaser.” Eat in Kildare, repent at Mallow.

2

Ray 09.07.06 at 3:48 pm

You didn’t mention the fired bread because that goes without saying, right?

3

Ray 09.07.06 at 3:49 pm

‘fried’, even

4

Kieran Healy 09.07.06 at 4:02 pm

Fired bread is not canon. Fried neither.

5

maureen 09.07.06 at 4:03 pm

Where are the potato farls?

6

Ray 09.07.06 at 4:23 pm

Time to start another edit war!

(was amused to discover that breakfast rolls are peculiarly Irish. how does the rest of the world survive without them?)

7

neil 09.07.06 at 4:25 pm

Those lame edit wars are, at least in good part, an example (albiet at the logical extreme) of what makes Wiki work. When hundreds of words are being spilt over punctuation and diction, you can be fairly sure that there’s not a problem with glossing over the small things.

Glossing over the big things, maybe.

8

Steve LaBonne 09.07.06 at 4:55 pm

What’s the consensus on the best brand of pudding exported to the US? (I haven’t had black pudding in ages and you’re making me hungry, so I think it’s time for a trip to one of the local Irish stores, or an order to foodireland.com.)

9

Kieran Healy 09.07.06 at 5:06 pm

Clonakilty.

10

Steve LaBonne 09.07.06 at 5:10 pm

Not one of the “usual” Irish-store brands as far as I’ve seen, but so much the better; on your recommendation I’ll definitely try to track some down. Thanks!

11

Barry 09.07.06 at 5:14 pm

I thought that the Irish just had a pint or three of Guinness for breakfast.

12

Matt 09.07.06 at 6:20 pm

Perhaps a bit like Barry, I’d always thought that “Irish breakfast” was sort of like “Irish Coffee”, that is, any old crappy coffee with whisky.

13

astrongmaybe 09.07.06 at 7:30 pm

bizarre and repulsive heresies of the fried kidneys and the baked beans..

Must be the long years amidst the Albion foe, but baked beans always seemed like a good innovation to me. They sort of sluice the whole thing down, and, in visual terms, make a contrasting ground for the major figures of rasher, sausage et al…
And another thing: puddings, black and white, are revolting, atavistic and probably immoral. Happy the day when culinary fashion and/or EU directive does away with them once and for all.

14

bi 09.07.06 at 9:55 pm

neil: head in the clouds, feet firmly in the sewage. That’s the Wikipedia way.

I think I’ll remain wiki-politically apathetic.

15

Steve LaBonne 09.07.06 at 10:10 pm

And another thing: puddings, black and white, are revolting, atavistic and probably immoral.

You misspelled “yummy”. HTH. HAND. ;)

16

chris y 09.08.06 at 1:23 am

I have never been offered white pudding for breakfast in Ireland in my life. I wish I had, it’s the food of the gods. How far into the hinterland do you have to penetrate to find it these days?

17

dearieme 09.08.06 at 3:33 am

In short, the Hibernian breakfast consists of a Caledonian breakfast with the fried bread subtracted.

18

Basil Valentine 09.08.06 at 4:21 am

I’m sure I remember a character in Beckett, maybe Murphy or More Pricks than Kicks, having kidneys for breakfast.

19

Henry 09.08.06 at 7:56 am

basil, you’re thinking of Bloom in_Ulysses_ I suspect.

20

bethany 09.08.06 at 9:04 am

Kieran, did you just try to invoke a *canonical* Irish breakfast? I hope at least three popes rolled over in their graves on that one! You did give me a craving for ponhoss, though (which didn’t even rate a wikipedia entry). I’ll be digging thru the freezer when I get home.

21

William Sjostrom 09.08.06 at 9:08 am

I always suspected Henry was not a real Irishman, or he would have known that skim milk is not sold here. Only fat free milk is. Kieran is, however, correct that Clonakilty is the best pudding. Curiously, though, the company mostly bailed out of the tiny and quaint tourist town of Clonakilty and operates out of a decidedly neither quaint or tiny factory in Little Island, just outside Cork City.

22

astrongmaybe 09.08.06 at 9:18 am

I always suspected Henry was not a real Irishman, or he would have known that skim milk is not sold here. Only fat free milk is.

Maybe that’s what it says on the carton, but unless something has changed drastically, people say ‘skim milk’.

23

Steve LaBonne 09.08.06 at 9:27 am

Maybe that’s what it says on the carton, but unless something has changed drastically, people say ‘skim milk’.

Much the same is true in the US, for that matter.

24

Henry 09.08.06 at 9:30 am

I’ll be thanking American blow-ins not to be impugning my Gaelic heritage ;) (although, I will admit, if forced to it, that I don’t actually _like_ black pudding, but still feel that it’s an essential part of the meal that’s in it). I won’t opine on the respective merits of black pudding producers, but will maintain against all comers that the best sausages in Ireland are produced at Andy Nolan’s butcher shop in Kilcullen (see further rasher’s comment in “this thread”:http://www.p45rant.com/boards/archive/index.php?t-27846.html).

25

Republic of Palau 09.08.06 at 11:41 am

Oddly enough, my partner and I were just arguing over whether (for breakfast item substitution purposes) one standard UK/Irish sausage is equivalent to two rashers of back bacon or whether the ratio should be 1/1. Of course if it’s streaky bacon the ratio should be 1/4, that’s obvious to any thinking person.

My own rule of thumb is that one sausage = 2 back rashers = one egg = 1 round fried bread/toast.

We have yet to to come to terms on black pudding, hash browns, mushrooms or beans. Heated discussion is likely to continue.

26

Kevin Donoghue 09.08.06 at 12:47 pm

This is posted under four categories, one of which is Irish Politics. Is it some sort of allegory of the PD leadership race? Is Michael McDowell the white pudding?

27

Henry 09.08.06 at 1:26 pm

Since Michael is my uncle, I’ll be steering well clear of blogging on that topic (not that I have any inside information or anything, but it would seem a bit fishy for me to be opining on the matter).

28

blah 09.08.06 at 1:56 pm

Perhaps a bit like Barry, I’d always thought that “Irish breakfast” was sort of like “Irish Coffee”, that is, any old crappy coffee with whisky.

Yep. Where I come from, “having an Irish breakfast” means you start drinking at 8:00 am.

29

derrida derider 09.10.06 at 2:27 am

bizarre and repulsive heresies of the fried kidneys …

Have you not read the opening scenes of Ulysses (“the faint tang of urine …”)?

30

Ray 09.10.06 at 2:46 am

But they were on their own, weren’t they, not part of a traditional breakfast?

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