The members of our book club began to notice a trend: death. Every month a new book, and every month at least one character was killed off, whether by gun-shot, decapitation, or even suffocation by mitten once. Finally, we began clamoring for a break. No more death…something a little lighter. The solution: Taylor’s An Irish Country Doctor.
This is the story of an experienced country doctor, who teaches his unorthodox methods to a newbie know-it all from the big city. Clichés abound in this book, and spoiler alert: no one dies. The irony of this almost killed me. You’d think a plot centered on medical care in rural Ireland would result in at least one tragedy. But nope, not even a sheep croaks. Yeah, that’s realistic. About as realistic as the tidy little bow Taylor ties around the formulaic and predictable ending sure to appease a mass audience.
I’m all for happy endings. Heck, I’ve read every Jane Austen novel at least twice. Cliché or not, I’ll never pass on a light beach read, so long as it keeps me laughing. And I’m in no way suggesting that death in anyway equates to a good read. Far from it. (Though, hmm…A Clockwork Orange and Crime and Punishment are two of my favs and death abounds in both.) I’m merely suggesting that …well…this book sucks.
Taylor does, however, nicely incorporate a lot of traditional fare into his narrative. The use of food perfectly develops the one aspect of this novel I did care about: The setting of Northern Ireland. The edition I read even included an appendix filled with Mrs. “Kinky” Kincaid’s favorite recipes.
Because I’m a vegetarian, Kinky’s Chicken Liver Pate isn’t really my style. And while I appreciate the authenticity of her Potato famine soup recipe, “take a gallon of water, and boil the bejasus out of it until it’s very, very strong” (Taylor 342), I’ve decided to, instead, share an American twist on the crop for which Ireland is most well known. So, fire up the grill and enjoy these potato skins at your next summer BBQ!
Potato Skins on the Grill
Serving Size: 8 Appetizers
2 baked potatoes
2 Tbsp melted butter
2 tsp dried rosemary
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
¼ cup chives, chopped
¼ cup cooked bacon, chopped (optional) **
Cut potatoes lengthwise; then divide into four wedges. Cut away the white portion, leaving about one forth of an inch on the skin. Microwave the skins for about 8 minutes or until tender.
Combine the melted butter, rosemary, salt and pepper. Brush over both sides of the potatoes.
Grill potatoes, over medium heat for about 2 minutes or until lightly brown. Flip and grill approximately two more minutes, or until lightly brown.
Top with cheese and continue to grill until cheese has melted and the desire crispness has been achieved.
Remove from heat; top with chives and chopped bacon (if desired). Top with a dollop of sour cream, or serve on the side.
** For a vegetarian friendly option, top with meatless bacon. Try Veggie Bacon Stips from Morningstar Farms