Feast or Famine

Feast or Famine


A Cultural Food Journey of the North West of Ireland

by Emmett McCourt

When it comes to food and drink, the North West of Ireland has a heritage second to none.

Emigrant farmers from Derry and Donegal were the first to plant the Americas with seed potatoes and apple trees. They carried their recipes with them, too, and their descendants fed both sides in the Civil War.

The Scots-Irish from the North West didn’t forget their distilling skills, either – producing whiskeys, bourbons and moonshine across the Southern states. And fishermen from Inishowen, who settled on the New England coast, helped found some of the finest fishing ports in the New World.

Derry chef Emmett McCourt researched the importance of his hometown’s contribution to world cuisine for many years. Through the Irish Food Heritage Project he has recovered age-old recipes, revived traditional cooking techniques, and rediscovered long-forgotten Irish treasures such as the lumper potato.

Feast or Famine takes you on an historical tour of Derry and Donegal and explores what makes this region such an abundant source of food and drink.

The author recalls the heady days when Lough Swilly was the herring capital of the world, Magilligan was a world leader in rabbits and Derry was producing millions of gallons of whiskey for the US. But he also records, using first-hand testimonies, the devastation wrought by the Great Famine in the 1840s.

On his travels, McCourt cooks some brilliant meals, meets some fascinating characters and visits some of Ireland’s most celebrated food-spots – and a few unsung ones as well.

Discover all this and much more in Feast or Famine, and join Emmett McCourt for a culinary odyssey not to be missed.

Weight 1.2 kg
Dimensions 24 × 2 × 21 cm
Book Author

Emmett McCourt








Guildhall Press