It is a popular belief that the foods of Ireland are bland due to the wide use of potatoes. However, the history of Irish cooking shows a wide use of fresh ingredients with a variety of foods before and after the potato became a dietary staple. For centuries, while the Irish people struggled with poverty, the potato sustained them and increased the population in many areas. After the potato famine of 1845, where millions of people starved to death or escaped to the United States, Ireland’s food source was diversified. Oats, barley, beets and other vegetables were grown as crops while the fishing industry expanded. The potato remained a staple of the diet and still continues to be so today, although modern Irish cuisine blends the recipes of old with the tastes and flavors of today.
The potato was first introduced to Ireland in the early 1600s. The potato was a wonderful source of food for the people of Ireland because they were able to produce more food per square meter than any other crop previously grown. The potato crop proved to be useful in surviving battles and the destruction of war. Since the potato crop was completely underground, the war didn’t affect their source of food.