Of fairies and butter

By Maria Kalaitzandonakes

Creamy cheesecake with chocolate and nougat at The White Horse restaurant outside of Cork. Photo by Maria Kalaitzandanokes

Creamy cheesecake with chocolate and nougat at The White Horse restaurant near Cork. Photo by Maria Kalaitzandanokes

CORK, Ireland – In years past, woven into the folklore of Ireland, women told the story of a cunning fairy who stole butter. I think I’ve found my calling.

For Irish women, home butter production was a way to bring in supplemental income before the creameries came into use. Butter making was a way to gauge a woman’s status in the community. The fairy stories came about, food historian Regina Sexton said, to explain a woman’s over or under production. According to the stories, fairies were disguised in plain sight as humans, usually as single or older women. Although sometimes they gave themselves away by miming the milking process on ropes or even their own hair.

Alright, perhaps I’m not that creepy, but you have to admit, their job sounds pretty nice. Free Irish butter anytime you want? Yes please. Sign me up.

Since landing on this wonderful island I have committed myself wholeheartedly to eating as much butter, cheese and milk as possible.

Lamb and red wine pie at The White Horse restaurant outside of Cork. Photo by Maria Kalaitzandonakes

A warm-up for dessert: lamb and red wine pie. Photo by Maria Kalaitzandonakes

Tonight’s dairy dish took the cake (haha). After a confusing bus ride out of Cork, we made it to The White Horse. The restaurant was full of happy chatter, and the place smelled of hearty, rainy day dishes. Of course, everything was delicious. I had lamb and red wine pie that was to die for. But although the main course was amazing, my eyes had been on the dessert menu from the start.

After they cleared away the main plates, my fairy wishes came true. There was my cheesecake. Covered and filled with little chocolate and nougat pieces and oh so very creamy. I savored every single bite.

I am the newest dairy fairy of Cork County.

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Filed under MU Journalism Abroad, Science ad Agricultual Journalism

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