Wanna Eat Like St. Patrick? Have Some Gruel, Seaweed

Culinary historians break down the ancient Irish diet
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2011 7:43 AM CDT
St Patrick's Day: To Eat Like the Saint, Have Some Gruel, Seaweed
This is way better than what they serve at the local Irish pub... right?   (Shutterstock)

Forget the corned beef and green beer; if you really want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, why not make yourself a nice bowl of gruel? Because that was probably a major part of St. Patrick’s diet, according to culinary historians at the University College of Cork. Other things the famed enemy-of-snakes likely partook of include seaweed, eggs, honey, fish, meal pastes, cereal, fruits, nuts, cheeses and milk, the Irish Times reports.

What he wouldn’t have eaten: Potatoes, which hadn’t arrived yet. Instead, the Irish ate a rich combination of grains and wild foods that changed with the seasons. “From May onwards, the diet was very much dominated by dairy produce,” says one researcher. “It was incredible, such profound skills were developed making all sorts of wonderful creations from milk, right up until the time the potato was universally adopted.” (More St. Patrick's Day stories.)

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