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A remarkable book by any standards, it comes as no surprise to find that Prannie Rhatigan’s Irish Seaweed Kitchen was many years in the making – the wonder of it is that this wide ranging, searching and very beautiful work ever went to press at all, as its subject is clearly a work in progress for this gifted medical doctor, organic gardener and Slow Food cook.
Growing up on the west coast of Ireland ‘where the rhythm of the tides and lore of the sea still provide a backdrop to everyday life’, Prannie learned about ‘the glistening crop on the foreshore’ and the harvesting pattern of different types of seaweed throughout the year and their uses in the kitchen and garden.
That experience provided the foundation for a lifelong interest in using seaweed as a food, and harnessing its nutritional and medicinal benefits in a way that brings together the traditional Irish uses for seaweed, going back through many generations, and the value laid on seaweed for nutrition and health.
The result is a fascinating tapestry of social history, anecdote, practical down-to-earth information (types of seaweed – 15 in this book, in red, brown and green groups; uses; harvesting; preparing; drying and storing), stunning imagery (contributed by at least two photographers and an illustrator) and a unique collection of recipes –
The teamwork involved has been extraordinary- as a glance at the acknowledgments will show – and it’s a beautifully produced book, with great attention to detail throughout, right down to the bookmark with a ‘Quick Guide to Preparing Seaweed’
The timing is perfect for this highly original book, – it makes a fascinating read, as well as a wonderful reference for anyone interested in Ireland, food, health or simply life.”