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Taste Scene

Michael Devlin

The joy of six

A friend of mine reckons that all of life’s ills are caused by celebrity magazines.

That might be a bit of a stretch but sometimes when I encounter such publications I have to say, I’m fairly gobsmacked by some of the features therein. Weight-loss and eating disorders; domestic violence; and incest… I reckon if I was stuck for something to read on a desert island and it started raining celebrity magazines, the whole lot would get chucked into the sea. Or maybe I could keep them for lighting fires or making hats. Anyway…

There’s one of those magazines though (I can’t remember its insipid name), which I find myself flicking through from time to time if it ever comes calling to the house. There’s a bit of a food section with the odd recipe or two and sometimes there’s a feature on celebrities’ fridges.

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Maybe it’s a foodie voyeurism kinda thing on my part, I’m not sure.

But what I am certain of is that, having seen theses features, celebrities eat just as much junk as the rest of us.

Anyway… I’m always on the lookout to see if any of the celebs have the same stuff in their fridges that I have but apparently my assumption that everyone has a mug half filled with left-over baked beans, a few straggling rashers of streaky bacon and a dog-end of cheddar in the cooler is way off the mark.

Anyway… There is also a product placement item from time to time in this food section, recommending new so-called good-for-you snack bars or fancy popcorn or the latest slim-line salad dressing.

I don’t think I’ve ever spotted such a recommendation that I would actually buy, let alone eat but it gave me an idea: I would do my own product placement feature! And here it is.

The following are products which are increasingly finding their way into my kitchen and which is more, are increasing finding their way into my gob.

Welcome to Michael’s Own Humble Guide to Enhanced Eating Experiences in 2021.

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Sourdough bread
I could say that sourdough bread is better because it’s more digestible than so-called normal bread because the fermentation process breaks down more gluten which can cause bloating. I could also say that it’s a probiotic and therefore better for the digestive system. I could also say that the lactic acid in the bread helps the body absorb more of the bread’s nutrients. I could say all of these things but the simple fact is that sourdough bread is simply tastier. Case closed.

Macroom buffalo mozzarella
A repeated winner at the World Cheese Awards and for good reason, this exceptional and exquisite cheese from Co Cork is currently one of the best mozzarellas on the market – and it doesn’t taste of airmiles either. Deliciously bland, infinitely creamy and best friends with sea salt crystals, Macroom mozzarella is made with fresh buffalo milk from Johnny Lynch’s farm. In a perfect world I’d live next door to Johnny and he’d have plenty of spare cheese.

Birdseye hash brown waffles
We like waffles in our house so much, we called our dog ‘Waffle.’ But when we discovered these bad boys during the first lockdown it was like that scene on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel when the prime mover fingers inspiration unto Adam. OK, so they’re not the healthiest things you could be eating but come on, we can’t be eating lentils, porridge and spinach round the clock. Good on burgers, with the Sunday fry-up and even on their own. If ever we get a cat he or she’ll be called, ‘Birdseye Hash Brown Waffle.’

Salted isigny butter from M&S
In the absence of butter made from unpasteurised milk, this is as good as you’re going to get. Made from rich cream from the Isigny region of France, this sumptuous butter is crafted via a slow maturation process for a richer and more distinctive flavour. And THEN it’s blended with Guerande sea salt crystals. Absolutely lethal on freshly baked wheaten or soda bread. Jaysus, I love being fat.

Traditional genovese pesto by Belazu
I reckon I’ve eaten every. single. green pesto on the market and this stuff is the closest I can find to the pesto I make at home. No bamboo, no potato flakes, no cashew nuts, no gunk, Belazu’s classic pesto is, without putting too fine a point on things, the bomb. We eat a lot of pesto in our house and so this has become a permanent feature. It’s so good, I’m think of getting a Belazu tattoo.

Branston baked beans
Beans no longer means Heinz. Cheaper, more tomato-y, tastier, Branston beans are regularly winning taste tests and once you go Branston, there’s no going back to the sad looking, neon beans from Heinz or anyone else. If anyone suggests otherwise, offer them outside. Buttered toast, loadsa Branston beans and a mountain of grated cheddar. Heaven.

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