30 Years at Ballymaloe by Darina Allen

updated May 2, 2019
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(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

The angle: A celebration of the Ballymaloe cookery school through recipes, chef profiles, anecdotes, and gorgeous photos.

Recipes for right now: Wild Garlic Custards; Marcella Hazen’s Penne with Cauliflower, Garlic, and Oil; Baked Trout with Spinach Butter Sauce; Vegetable and Red Lentil Broth; Ardsallagh Goat Cheese and Thyme Leaf Soufflé; Fava Bean, Blue Cheese, Parsley, and Lemon Pizza; Penny’s Kraut-Chi; Crab and Asparagus with Thai Mayonnaise on Sourdough

Who would enjoy this book? Culinary school nerds (you know who you are!), anyone who knows and loves Ballymaloe, culinary history buffs

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Quick Facts

Who wrote it: Darina Allen

Who published it:

Number of recipes:

Other highlights: Some books pull you in because they promise to teach you something. Others pull you in with lush photographs and long anecdotal essays. Others are fodder for new meal ideas, pure and simple. It’s rare that a book meets all three pulls with such magnetic strength.

For those of you who don’t know of it, Ballymaloe is one of Ireland’s oldest cooking schools — a 100-acre farm with gardens and livestock in addition to the brick-and-mortar school itself. It’s a school that’s changed with the times over the past 30 years of its existence, now offering classes in such new-fangled subjects as sushi-making and gluten-free baking. This book is a tribute to all the meals that have been cooked at Ballymaloe and all the chefs and students who have passed through its doors.

The book takes a meandering approach, weaving together key events in the school’s history, profiles of beloved instructors, and of course, recipes in a rough timeline from 1983 to today. Thumb through the pages and you’ll notice two things: First how the culinary zeitgeist slowly morphs over the years, and second, that despite all this change, how the core spirit of Ballymaloe stays constant. Same pastoral images of the grounds surrounding the school. Same eager smiles on the fresh-faced instructors and students. Same energy of community and a passion for learning.

Whether this book ends up living on your coffee table or in your kitchen makes no difference. It will likely travel back and forth. Either way, definitely plan to spend some time with this book — there’s so much here to absorb and discover.

Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: 30 Years at Ballymaloe by Darina Allen

Visit the author’s website: Ballymaloe

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