Delicious Food and Unusual Cocktails
John and Sally McKenna's Who's Who in Irish Food has this to say about Caitlin:
"Every time we eat Caitlin Ruth's cooking, our response is automatic: “This is the best thing I have eaten all year”, we say, as predictable as Pavlov's dog. Carpet shell clams with belly pork and herb butter breadcrumbs? Best thing all year. Smoked mackerel with tomato and caper salad? Best thing. Carrot mustard with duck rillettes and pickled raisins? Best thing. Ling with endive? Best thing.
It's only later, when you pick through your notes and look at your photos that you say to yourself: how can a piece of ling be the best thing I have eaten all year? How can chicken with Korean chilli oil be the best thing I have eaten all year?
It's the best for a simple reason: in Ms Ruth's cooking, the sum is greater than the parts. She frames her food with simple ingredients – white beans for soup; smoked fish for starters; crab claws; pork belly – and then, like a pointillist painter, she fills in the frame. It's the fennel with smoked pollock in a risotto that fills the frame with flavour and counterpoint. It's the Crozier Blue sauce and the toasted almonds, the roasted tomatoes and the beetroot that provide the colour for potato gnocchi.
As a cook, she has a palette as much as she has a palate, and that palette comprises simple things, simple things that she makes special. She learnt her fundamental lessons about food long before she arrived in Deasy's Harbour Bar, just outside Timoleague. As a six year old, she once brewed up a pot of broth and her makey-up soup, “however tasteless and thin, thrilled me with its alchemy. Until that moment I thought that soup came from a tin, and stock came from a cube. Awed that I had changed water into such a very different liquid, I felt like both a mad scientist and a magician. Making stock still gives me butterflies: I know it’s science, but it feels like magic”.
And that's why Ms Ruth's food tastes like the best thing you have eaten all year."
© 2018. Caitlin Ruth Food