Sunday, October 23, 2011
Giving Life to Seaweed
I remember only all too well my week at 'Knockadoon Marine Camp' located in Cork. I was fourteen years old, and to this day it still ranks as one of my all time favorite holidays. I learned about seaweed, upper, middle and lower zones and foraging for seaweed. Now, twenty seven years later, living in Dallas, I have rediscovered the wonders of Irish seaweed through a book called 'Irish Seaweed Kitchen' by native Irish woman, Dr Prannie Rhatigan. This book is a veritable feast for the eyes. Packed with incredible recipes, photographs and nutritional information on seaweed. Prannie was born and raised on the west coast of Ireland. In this book she reveals her experiences harvesting seaweeds with her family and explains their vital nutritional importance. We all like to eat seaweed when we dine out in Sushi Restaurants and have accepted the wide use in Asian cooking, but have we ever really given thought to the widespread availability of seaweed coming from Ireland, after all it is an island. Reading this book, Prannie's passion for this ancient source of nutrition, jumps off the page. I contacted a man in Ireland by the name of Ger Talty. Ger lives in Quilty, County Clare and is a third generation seaweed forager. I had a group of eight people from Dallas visiting Ireland and as part of their 'foodie' day in Clare, they spent the day foraging with Ger and learning how to cook with this incredible product. Ger and his family own a company called 'Spanish Point Sea Veg' They forage, dry and package the various sea weeds for consumption. As a child we used to eat dried seaweed. There was nothing unusual in that. However, I did not ever really cook or bake much with it. I simply had to try. Thanks to Ger, I had seven different bags of his 'Spanish Point Sea Veg ' and so I set about baking in my kitchen.