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A Different View

Relentless quest for flavor leaves us all burned to a crisp

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Coláiste Éinde celebrated some of the many talents of the students in the school recently with three sell-out performances in this year’s annual School Talent Show, in aid of the School Development Fund and the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind. Students and organisers, teachers Tammy O’Leary and Michael Purcell – joined by principal Deirbhle Quinn – presented the Galway Branch Chairman of the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind, Frank Downes, and his fundraising dog, Gallagher with a cheque for €729.50 this week.

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Some visitors very generously brought us a hamper of goodies over the Christmas – and buried in the middle of the basket was a large packet of crisps.

Now, as someone partial to the odd packet – albeit in a smaller size normally – I quietly sequestered said snack and hid it from public eye and consumption, for singular enjoyment at a later time.

In other words I stole the crisps – but in fairness, someone else in the house took the bottle of wine, so it was honours even in the end.

Anyway, one evening the house was empty and it was time to unveil the tasty treat – only to find that these were no Taytos or Walkers.

They weren’t even cheese and onion or salt and vinegar – the flavour I’d been hiding for myself was hand-cooked sweet potato, beetroot and parsnip crisps. And for once, unfortunately, the crisps tasted exactly like they should.

In other words, if you’d been of a mind to thinly slice sweet potatoes, parsnips and beetroot, and fry them in vegetable oil, this is what you’d have ended up with – a snack that’s healthy and low in fat but completely at odds with what you’d expect from crisps.

Suffice to say that, three weeks later, all but about ten of these crisps are still in the packet, available to anyone who’d like to try them, but going slowly stale and soggy from a complete lack of interest.

Twenty years ago, if some snack guru suggested that combining parsnips, beetroot and sweet potato was the way forward for crisps, he or she would have been led away from the deep fat fryer by men in greasy white coats.

Back in the day, we had Tayto – cheese and onion, salt and vinegar or smokey bacon – and little else.

Sure, we had Perri and King and Rancheros and Snax and Chipsticks – a concoction so sticky that it superglued your teeth together in a way that not even Monster Munch could match – or a big bag of Johnny Onion Rings that left you with a smell that would bring a tear to anyone’s eye.

But then Walkers and Pringles came along and changed crisp culture forever; Pringles in their big tube that looked like a container of tennis balls, with sour cream and onion or whatever….and Walkers, with more bizarre flavours by the week.

Ranch Raccoon, Sizzling Steak Fajita, Beans on Toast, Chip Shop Chicken Curry, Chilli and Chocolate, Fish and Chips, Builder’s Breakfast, Lamb Curry, Roast Turkey and Stuffing….even Irish Stew.

Even if they were special edition offerings that only lasted a few weeks, they put your old traditional cheese and onion crisps into the ha’penny place.

Suddenly this old snack standard was a gourmet treat in a bag, with a host of specialist companies hand carving and individually frying these thinly sliced slivers of spud and charging a euro or more for a packet.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

Connacht Tribune

Homework only goes to prove parents haven’t all the answers

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Anyone fortunate enough to be a parent will always remember the moment when their child transitioned from unqualified hero worship to thinking that ma and da, if not quite clowns, at least possessed feet of clay.

And that moment often coincided with the time you could no longer make head nor tail of their homework.

You were grand with addition and subtraction, even multiplication and basic division – but when theorems or algebra or physics or foreign languages came into the equation, suddenly your infallible status took a nosedive straight into the nearest bin.

The consolation is that we are not alone – because most parents admit they’ve forgotten even the basics from their schooldays, leaving them cruelly exposed when the teenagers come looking for help.

A recent UK survey asked 1,500 parents aged over 30 what they had forgotten from their schooldays.

Top of the list was algebra – forgotten by half of them – followed by trigonometry and Pythagoras’s Theorem. About a third of respondents could no longer remember how to do long division – or name ten or more elements from the periodic table.

A quarter didn’t know the difference between an isosceles and a scalene triangle, and almost a fifth had forgotten how to use a protractor. Most of those probably thought a compass was for pricking the back of the student sitting in front of you.

Other classroom classics now lost in the sands of time included a failure to recognise cloud formations, identifying an oxbow lake, remembering quotes from Shakespeare, or explaining the difference between volts and amps.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Everybody knows a Dave – but it still don’t make a storm

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It’s been a tough week for Ireland’s Daves and Davids – ever since we found out just how close we were to having our own storm, only to have it snatched away from us by a public vote that inexplicably went for Dudley instead.

It doesn’t matter than Dudley hardly even sounds like a gust of wind, let alone a gale force storm; it just conjures up an image of a drunken Dudley Moore in Arthur, meandering all over the place – more of a danger to himself than the roof of your house is.

The only consolation is that, if it wasn’t Dudley, it still wouldn’t have been Dave – because in compiling the shortlist, our own Queen of the Weather Forecast, Evelyn Cusack, made a stronger case for Storm Diarmuid, ahead of Dave, David and even Dafydd.

The Brits were keen on Storm Dave, but part of the reason that there is an annual debate among the Met Offices is to ensure a disparate selection, with something for each of the participating nationalities.

That’s why we got Barra, Pól, Seán and Méabh, and the Welsh got Arwen and possibly Gladys, and the Dutch got Vergil and Willemien, with a couple of crossover names like Jack and Kim and Ruby in there for good measure.

But when it came to Storm D, our Met Éireann boss wouldn’t even entertain Dermot as a compromise over Diarmuid, according to the correspondence on this year’s storm-naming process, as revealed under Freedom of Information this week.

Ultimately, it didn’t matter in the end because the people decided anyway. They were given a choice of Duncan, Dudley and Dafydd. . .and Dudley was the winner, perhaps – the commentators think – because of Dudley Dursley, erstwhile star of Harry Potter. As opposed to Dudley Moore.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Science proves kids were spot-on about the sprouts

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Turns out the kids were right all along – there’s an actual scientific reason why most of them can’t stand broccoli or Brussels sprouts.

And these researchers from CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, have further agreed that you can throw cauliflower, kale and cabbage into the equation for good measure – because enzymes from what are collectively known as brassica vegetables and from bacteria in saliva can produce unpleasant odours in the mouth.

“Interactions between brassica vegetables and human saliva can affect in-mouth odour development, which in turn may be linked to individual perception and liking,” revealed the researchers.

Adults on the other hand, educate their palate to tolerate the bad taste; after all they’ve already managed it with Guinness, because if you remember how your first pint of stout tasted, it was nothing to whet the appetite like it does now.

The study involved 98 pairs of parents and children aged between six and eight, to rate the key odour compounds – and very different response.

Their scientific explanation is that these veg contain a compound called S-methyl-L-cysteine sulfoxide that produces potent, sulphurous odours when acted upon by an enzyme in the plant.

This is also the case for the same enzyme produced by bacteria in some people’s oral bacteria.

You can mask this of course with plenty of cheese sauce or whatever takes your fancy, but that’s a little like those people who tell you they love oysters when what they actually enjoy is the taste of lemon and tabasco sauce.

We all remember the days of our childhood when you were either force-fed veg or else had the guilt trip laid on you about children who were starving in Africa who’d give anything for a plate of broccoli.

Turns out now they probably wouldn’t, despite numerous surreptitious efforts to find an envelope to post the veg to a poor country in the hope that it would solve two problems – world hunger and an aversion to Brussels sprouts.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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