Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Livin' Large with Laura: Why'dja KILKENNY?

Confession Time: Since we moved to Ireland, Katie has been eating pre-made, store bought, jarred baby food. There, I said it. A weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I started out with good intentions - I peeled, diced and boiled potatoes, sweet potatoes, courgettes (tee-hee; zucchini) and carrots and Katie ate them up. Then she got sick around her birthday time and would no longer entertain the idea of finger food veggies. So, I gave her a jar of "Cow and Gate" mixed veggies and she was willing to eat the mush. Why the leading baby food maker in Ireland thought "Cow and Gate" would be a good brand name, I dunno. I bought it 'cause it was the cheapest. guess I shouldn't admit that though. No! I didnt even give her the organic baby food! I know I've now been disowned by mama, but the truth must be told.

Of course, I admit all this now because I just spent the morning with Annabel Karmel making some delicious baby gruel that is even freezer friendly. Clodagh gave us an A.K. baby cookbook and I cracked it open for the first time making treats such as Lentils and Vegetable Puree, Hide-The-Veggies Pasta Sauce, and Salmon Potato Cakes. I am officially filing the purchase of my first hand held upright Sachini blender under "Best Things I've Ever Done".. I'm sorry again mom, I never packed the baby food grinder-mill for Ireland as a) I thought I was done pulverizing tasty morsels and b) this is cooking 21st century style. Modern electric gadgetry is a train and it's leaving the station; swing yourself over the rail and hold on tight... (I'm no longer beating my clothes out on a rock or churning my own butter, either.)

So the salmon cakes call for canned red salmon. The average human body has 206 bones. (I say 'average' because I was watching a special on this guy with no arms that saved a woman from a burning car. He obviously has less than 206...and he is simply NOT average. No lie. However, humans have NOTHING on the 14, 987 bones in a salmon. I know cause I counted them as I plucked them from the canned meat. To make sure I had them all, I reconstructed the salmon skeleton as I went.
Diligent as I was, there is NO WAY a little bone didn't find its way into my potato cake. I just hope I annihilated the little bugger with my blender/bone crusher! I think I'm going to go blend again, just for good measure and the joy it brings me. Someday when Katie is older and writing her memoirs, "Mommy Dearest, part 2" she can include that I force-fed her fish bones and made her kneel on a hill of beans. No wait, that last part is for MY memoir...

Anyway, thanks for all the well-wishing done on Brian's part. Yes, all ONE of you... Fortunately modern medicine does NOT rely on strangers' thoughts and prayers for successful outcomes (sorry to those I offend with the truth). Brian had his surgery yesterday and is doing great today.

His appendix didn't fare out nearly as well...

As if!! Wouldn't that be the coolest if I could get a picture of HIS removed appendix for my blog?! Dude. That would be so rad.

The doctors said he was lucky it was just his appendix making him sick. They've heard recent horror stories of mothers feeding their babies fish bones...

All this and we haven't even relived our time in Kilkenny with Laura.

Although I'd been here 5-6 times even before moving here, I'd never taken a proper tour of the city. Laura's visit supplied the perfect opportunity and we booked in with Pat Tynan's Walking Tours. But no, it wasn't Pat Tynan leading the tour... It was Mr. Finnigan. I think I introduced
you to him before:

Well, I don't really know what his name was (the guy in the picture or our tour guide) but so as to not have to continue to call him "That Guy" Laura affectionately named him Mr. Finnigan and it stuck. He's not the last person we named, though the others are a bit blurry at this point. Laura - reminders? I know there was a Patrick... was he the young fiddle player?

Mr. Finnigan was a wealth of historical knowledge. (He should be, as he was there when it all actually happened). A lot of what we saw on tour is stuff that I showed you in another post so I won't repeat myself.

So I won't repeat myself. ha.

Stunning Stained Glass in the Black Abbey. (We went to mass there on Father's Day also.)

Kilkenny Castle

We took a guided tour of the castle. Another OLD building. It was the Butler family's private home until the 1970s. No one had lived there since the 20's when the Butlers, facing financial strain, auctioned off all the furniture and interior finishings and high-tailed it out of town. If you happen to own a piece of original Butler family furniture, the Castle would like to have it back. Let me know and we'll put you in touch with the right people. The 3 sided castle was once a 4 sided fortress. Cromwell did the drastic leveling renovations. Excavations have shown that this stone building sits atop the site of the original wooden fortress built for STRONGBOW himself.

This is the castle's backyard. You have seen this place before too. We go jogging here. There is a playground (currently under renovation) and a duck pond with 2 beautiful white swans. Yeah, it's tough living here..

And this is proof that Laura made it all the way up to the top of the Round Tower in St. Canice's Cathedral. Stunning 360 degree views of Kilkenny City. Note death grip on railing. Laura said all she could see were stars.
I looked around and found where we are living! Pretty cool. Actually, Manus told me that if you do "Google Earth" you can find us too. But it must be an old picture cause its still mainly a construction site.

What would you do if the day the satellite snapped the picture of your house you were sunbathing nude in the back yard?


Anonymous said...

Jess here:

If the satellite snapped a pic of me sunbathing nude, I would immediately apologize to all who were subjected to that horror. And offer an autographed copy to all the weirdos who like their women shaped that way!

Glad Brian is doing better than his appendix.

Laura regaled us with tales of her ascent of the tower at the wedding reception. I know what she's like on scaffolding, so I have a pretty good idea of how it went over there! I'm more amazed that she got DOWN than that she got UP. BTW, as far as I know, she still isn't smoking. What did you do to that girl? Good job!

Clodagh said...

Snap Malinda

Domestic Goddess and mother's extraordinaire that we are, I also made Lentil and vegetable puree yesterday for Esme. She loved it. It makes for interesting nappies also!!

Leslie said...

Not only should you write a book, you should sell your own baby food..."with extra calcium hand crushed for your baby's well being and enjoyment" I will write you back I promise- mom and dad just left. Miss you, I want to take a tour of the castle...no actually I want to drink some cider on the lawn whilst watching Hailey and Katie chase the swans. Big belly won't allow it I guess! Love you.

Debbie said...

Your fish bone story actually hit pretty close to home. All I remember from when my mom used to serve fish growing up was her saying, "Watch for the bones, watch for the bones." Needless to say, I don't eat fish to this day.

The pics of Ireland are gorgeous. Are you kidding me..that's where you jog?!? Kendall Drive is getting really old. (Okay, JUST kidding. That would be suicide).