So, you’ve thought about, or have gone to the Emerald Isle and your body either has no idea what evil, inhuman creations are about to hole up in every corner of every fat cell of your perfectly sculpted, rock-hard Real Housewives figure, or, you’ve witnessed the vengeance of the Ulster Fry, the Scotch Egg, the Cowboy Supper, and every other potato-crammed creation brimming with an insufferable amount of mayonnaise, sided with a boiled portion of blood pudding first hand.
Satan called. He wants you to visit Ireland.
Before we get into the specifics of each of these fried creations, you should understand one thing: You might feel, even crave the desire to try each one of these delectable, authentic dishes of doom, but we take no responsibility for uncontrolled weight gain, tremors, night terror, or genuine depression and regret, brought on by a body laden with cooking oil and carbs. Shall we start?
Lesson #1: If you can fry it, the British, Irish, Scots, and probably a few stray Americans, will come. Yes, the area that goes through a fair amount (Lets say, 30 percent) of the worlds cooking oil (Well, Americans get fat somehow) have had a large period of trial and error over the years and they’ve come up with a solution to those pesky organic farmers telling you to eat non-processed foods so you can live a little bit longer and see us all slowly start nuking each other for water supplies and delicious corn syrup.
Side note, how many gallons of pure, adulterated high fructose corn syrup are at this very second, being consumed in America? An Olympic-sized swimming vat of sugary diabetes? Nah. Too generous.
The people who brought you slavery and tea have thrown everything from pig feet to Shakespearean criminals into a vat of bubbling, fragrant oil, and the English, along with the Irish, have seemed to of come to a consensus on a few things that are regarded as, “A specialty.”
1. The Ulster Fry/Full/English/Irish Breakfast
It has many names through the Isles as it comes in many forms. Of course, the Irish would tell you those pesky English totally stole the idea from them and sold it for money, but the unity between a plate of fried everything before you’ve even had a chance to consider if life is really worth living around, say, mid-afternoon, is hard to deny.
The Ulster Fry is a big dish in the six counties of British-occupied Ulster (Three of the other nine counties of historical Ulster lie within the Republic of Ireland). You could probably get it all piled on to a bagel at some fru-fru, New Age, European coffee shop if you really wanted to, but lets get down to it…
Consisting of beef and pork sausages, bacon, eggs, mushrooms, baked beans, tomatoes, pancakes, wheat, soda, and potato breads, The Ulster Fry is something that will have your digestive tract screaming out for an antacid smoothie. Did we mention that it’s all fried?
Yes, even the tomatoes. We’re guessing the baked beans don’t count, but that’s the jam for your toast anyways. Nevertheless, the Full Breakfast is an experience to behold and one to savor as you wither in a sodium-induced seizure and move on to the next specialty, The Scotch Egg.
2. The Scotch Egg
Image: Peter Marheine
Oh, the wee, wee Scotch Egg. It’s so small, so innocent looking, so innocent sounding…like a hardboiled egg grew off a vine in the pastoral Scottish Highlands itself, which then fell through a sausage/meat batter, a cloud of breadcrumbs, and into an Irish deep fryer like an old Marx Brothers dress routine with comical music and Three-Stooges Syndrome for your arteries abound. These aren’t your grandma’s eggs. These are the balls of Satan himself. Die Eier Von Satan. Available at any chip shop that has a portal to cholesterol hell.
3. The Cowboy Supper
Image: Russ Horvath
So, we’ve talked about a few things gracing the deep fryer already, and at some point the Irish figured, “Well hell, lets throw some sausages in there too!” and after said frying, on top of a bed of thick-cut, twice-fried chips, smothered in a layer of baked beans. If you ate a Full Breakfast for breakfast and a Cowboy Supper for supper, you might be dead by the time your heart repulses in anguish, jumping out of you body, screaming, “No more man! No more!” Do you dare add cheese?
4. “Real” Fish and Chips
Image: Russ Horvath
Yes, we have fish and chips here in America. Hell, we even have the vinegar and that awful, plain, and absolutely nothing but filler “Brown Sauce” to go with it. But you can’t get ”real” fish and chips in America. It’d be considered illegal and/or child abuse if you fed it to your kids.
Real “chip shop” fish and chips come in a cardboard box. A fitting end for the Cod that was unlucky enough to be swept into the net of the Northern fisherman.
What the Cod didn’t know is that its flesh would be so dripping with oil after being battered in a prison of beige goo that it would literally be permeating through the cardboard box itself, with a good portion of what was its method of movement and survival hanging out from the sides, exposed to un-suffocating air, void of any volatile fried goodness. Also served on a bed of chips. Mayo mandatory.
5. Chicken Goujons
Image: Fuzz Gerdes
Sailing the same oily seas as the Fish and Chips, chicken goujons are basically the same concept.
Dip, maybe even double-dip, a massive slab of chicken into the goo chamber, drop it into the doom fryer, and watch it brown into a mass of blood-thickening deliciousness as you slowly count off the seconds ticking away from your life.
Sodium content? Certain calcification.
It’s okay though, the chips will soak up a fair amount of the oil secretions from the goujons. In fact, the goujons and the fish are probably frying right next to each other in the same vat of boiling oil. Imagine the chicken thinking “What the?…” as it looks upon its once hopeful offspring being whipped into a garlic-y mayo blend for dipping purposes. Mother and son unite. We’ve surely conquered the world and the Seven Seas by now, haven’t we?
6. Blood Pudding
You’ve all heard about blood pudding. You’ve probably even had an “Involuntary personal protein spill,” upon hearing about what blood pudding is, as George Carlin would say, but basically, you’re eating congealed animal blood with some filler. Say…oatmeal, or onions. Mmmm! Soak up that delicious blood!
While blood pudding can also be boiled or grilled, one must figure this is an important part of Isle-fried specialty to mention. Well, we guess you could make a Black Pudding Cowboy Supper, but…oh my…there’s a hole in the floor opening up with a red glare. We better not go any further…
7. And for bonus, if you decide to take the Stena line over to Stranraer for some Scottish delight, The Haggis Supper
While not traditionally fried, those bloody Scots have found a way to work their pride and joy into a deep fryer.
Known as the ”Haggis Supper,” not to be confused with the “Burns Supper,” a dinner tradition honoring the great Scottish poet Robert Burns with a Haggis, the Haggis Supper, like the Cowboy Super, comes served on a bed of chips. While your body may be crying out for federal intervention to stop the flow of destruction through your veins (Now conveniently pumping pure crude fat), you can also try out the Haggis Burger, a patty of fried Haggis, served “Mmm, Mmm, Good.”
So…when do you leave?