Rachel Gaffney's Letter from Texas

Rachel Gaffney

The famous foodie who’s flying the tricolour for us in Texas is on a mission to share the story of Irish food at a prestigious event in Dallas next month - and get everyone to ‘Meet the Ingredients’

Story telling is something we Irish do very well, whether it be accurate or embellished, we simply tell great stories. The story of the Irish food scene is one that can be told in so many different ways, through various mediums of photography, videography, tv and radio, but by far, the most impactful way of telling the story is by introducing the people to the ingredients in person.To touch, feel and to taste the bounties of the land and sea, forming a relationship with them. After all, food nourishes the soul and mind as well as the body.

To introduce people here in Dallas, Texas to these, I need to share the story of Irish food. I use the word food for many reasons. If I only use the word culinary, it frightens some, they perceive it to be only about chefs and high end restaurants as opposed to the story of producers, markets, fishermen, sea weed foragers, farmers, grocers, pub landlords and home cooks.

March 5th will be the date for me to tell my story of Ireland and her ingredients at a Dame Good Party, hosted and organised by an organisation I am tremendously proud to be a member of, Les Dames d’Escoffier.

Disclaimer: Word for word from the LDEI website for accuracy

Our Mission
Les Dames d’Escoffier International is a philanthropic organization of women leaders in the fields of food, fine beverage and hospitality. The by-invitation membership, composed of over 2,200 members in 37 chapters in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Mexico, is highly diversified and reflects the multifaceted fields of contemporary gastronomy and hospitality.

Our Vision
LDEI is an international organization of women leaders who create a supportive culture in their communities to achieve excellence in the food, fine beverage and hospitality fields.


Achill Sea Salt

On this evening, Sunday 5th March 2017, we will feature approximately 35 food and beverage stations from some of North Texas’ top female chefs, restaurateurs, sommeliers, farmers, artisanal cheese and spirit makers, pastry chefs and mixologists. This year, we will feature Women in Wine with women wine makers and winery owners from some of America’s top brands.

Since its inception, LDEI has donated over $9million to women furthering their education and training through scholarships and endowments. The cultural thread that is woven throughout this organization is simply quite phenomenal.

Only a few years ago I worked with Tina Wasserman, author of ‘Entree to Judaism’ a culinary exploration of the Jewish Diaspora. http://cookingandmore.com/  We hosted an evening for people to come and learn about this and Tina taught us all how to bake Challah, a bread made from dough enriched with eggs.

What made this evening special was the story telling. Tina shared the stories of the Jews and the orange trade, the Jewish traders on the spice route, and the lasting memory I have is when she shared the story of the acclaimed ‘Aubergine’ or ‘Eggplant’ as it is called over here.

Long associated with Italian cooking, I did not know that it was used by the Jewish people before it was passed on to the Italians. This evening at Tina’s home was a wonderful experience. By no means did we all know each other, but we left with new memories and friends.

Perhaps now, even more so than ever, can the work of LDEI be more beneficial and healing than any other time I can recall living here in the United States of America. A country, stitched together by threads from every culture and each bringing with it, it’s own stories of food, recipes and traditions. Surely this is the anodyne we all need and seek.

Apple Raisin Sultana Bread

On March 5th, I hope to introduce Irish food and culture. The humble Irish Soda bread will be reinvented in so many new ways. I have worked on new recipe variations and it is something I can make quickly and easily to feed the masses. Tomato, red onion and Achill Island Sea Salt loaves, apple, raisin & sultana loaves - all served with lashings of Irish butter from Kerrygold - along with Cashel Blue cheese grapes, Dubliner Irish Cheddar will all be proudly and prominently featured.

Although somewhat humble, these ingredients - some of which are familiar to American shoppers and easy to find here, while others like Achill Island Sea Salt (photo above right), the 2014 winner of a prestigious Euro-Toques Food Award, are waiting to be discovered - all lend themselves to a great story.

The stories of Irish farming and why our butter is yellow rather than the ubiquitous white butter over here. The benefits of great sea salt and the island life on Achill. Perhaps it will make you smile, want to purchase it (which, in my experience they always do) or make you want to visit and re-connect.

But, even more importantly on this evening, perhaps, as you stop by my little piece of Ireland on the night of Sunday, March 5th, you will be part of a far greater thing, you will now be one of those threads that weave together the United States of America and not the divided states of America.


Rachel Gaffney's Real Ireland


: Rachel Gaffneys Real Ireland
Follow me on Twitter: @Rachelgaffney

Email: Rachel@Rachelgaffneys.com

Watch 'The Irish Kitchen' now on HULU




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