Here’s a question with an answer I didn’t expect:
What was Irish food like for the 1500 years between St. Patrick and potatoes?
The short answer is: milky.
Turns out potatoes didn’t make it to Ireland until the 1600’s when they showed up from Peru. That means bog butter was a thing, and you probably had it with oatcakes and curds.
My gravelly backyard in D.C. is no place for grazing, so I went with the classic St. Paddy’s day feast this year: corned beef and cabbage with a healthy dose of potatoes and carrots. I got one thing right though – whip up some horseradish with heavy cream, and you’ll have a delicious (and mildly traditional?) milky topping that unintentionally pays homage to Ireland’s dairy-driven past.