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Eating Irish: Ploughman’s Lunch


Irish agriculture has pretty much all gone mechanized these days, but for many decades the ploughman was an integral component of food production there. Probably longer than in the U.S., where we adopt new ways more quickly, and we have more social wealth to support that.

Working with a horse and plough is mighty hungry-making, not to mention the thirst you can get! Even though man and beast probably needed a good, long mid-day break, there probably wasn’t enough time to leave for a full meal. Hence the invention of the Ploughman’s Lunch, a tasty salad that could still power a working man through the afternoon:

There are several identifying elements here. While almost any cold cut meat would do, this salad simply has to have some meat. Not seafood, not tofu: Real Meat for a Real Man. A mustard vinaigrette is key also, preferably made with a whole-grain mustard. Tomato Chutney is the standard accompaniment, and it goes surprisingly well with the meat. And good Irish Red Cheddar can’t be overlooked as a main ingredient. With hearty Brown Soda Bread and good Irish butter, this meal can be a most satisfying experience.

Add a foamy pint of Guinness or two and you’ll be all set for the afternoon! That, and nice nap wouldn’t do any harm…

Enjoy the (Working Man’s) Heat!

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