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A Biographical Sketch of Walt Disney

Wade Sampson returns with a two part series that features excerpts from a rarely seen 1937 RKO publicity document that talks about the life of Walt Disney.



I have a friend who collects sets of encyclopedias from different decades but in particular from the middle 1800s to the early 1900s. Now, I have some unusual things I collect and some people even consider the fact that I collect Disney items unusual enough. However, I had difficulty understanding why a fellow writer would want to devote so much of his home space to those old volumes when a recent set of encyclopedias should be sufficient, especially supplemented by internet available information.

Then he explained to me how valuable those volumes are to a writer. He has written fiction stories taking place at the turn of the century and he opens up one of his encyclopedias from that time period and there is a full page or more entry just on buggy whips. Try to find that in a modern encyclopedia. All of the information that has happened since 1850 has been crowded out or minimized with all the new information on airplanes and rockets and cloning and more. Also, at the turn of the century, buggy whips were an important part of the daily life. Today, they might be an interesting oddity to a small part of the population.

While I don’t collect old encyclopedias (although after talking with my friend I am sorely tempted to start to do so), I do collect old magazines for the same basic reason. I often buy magazines from the 1930s and 1940s and 1950s with articles about Disney because they often feature information or Walt quotes that appear nowhere else. I was able to pass along to Jim Hill the information that in 1954, Walt was quoted in a magazine article from THE MOTION PICTURE HERALD that one of the things he wanted to do at Disneyland was have a behind the scenes animation studio tour for guests! (This fact makes it especially sad that Disney is considering closing the Feature Animation Florida which offered the only thing close to a behind the scenes animation tour for guests.)

The first Disney cartoons were distributed by Pat Powers. Columbia distributed Disney cartoons from 1930 to 1932. United Artists distributed Disney cartoons from 1932 to 1937 (although they also distributed VICTORY THROUGH AIRPOWER in 1943). RKO distributed Disney cartoons from 1937 to 1956 (features only until 1954). RKO’s reluctance in distributing the TRUE LIFE ADVENTURES featurettes and later the features was one of the contributing factors to Disney creating its own distribution arm, Buena Vista Distribution Company. Its first release was the TRUE LIFE ADVENTURE feature film, THE LIVING DESERT. The film made for $500,000 made five million dollars during its original release.

At a Mouse Club or NFFC Disneyana Convention over a decade ago (and it has been so long ago they both blend together but they were both more fun and friendly than Disney’s version of Disneyana conventions which became merely merchandise opportunities instead of celebrations of Disney), I bought from one of the dealers a pack of eight yellowed pages which was entitled “Biographical Sketch of Walt Disney” which was produced by RKO in 1937 as a publicity release in connection with their taking over the distribution of Disney cartoons as well as the upcoming release of SNOW WHITE later that year.

As I was rearranging my Walt biographies for my previous column on WALT DISNEY: AN AMERICAN ORIGINAL, I ran across a manila envelope with the RKO release that I had forgotten I had. Since there really was no biographical information about Walt Disney at the time other than an odd article in a magazine like McCalls at the time, this may be one of the first “official” Walt biographies since I’ve never heard of Columbia or United Artists producing a similar handout.

So, I thought it would be fun to share it with the readers of JimHillMedia and to record it for historical purposes. Nothing amazingly new, except for some Walt quotes that don’t appear anywhere else and the fact that Walt must have talked with a writer who formatted that information. Walt was a great storyteller so I am sure some of the material was telescoped or exaggerated for the purpose of a good story. Therefore some of the information is a bit misleading or a bit happier than it actually was. For instance, Walt’s newspaper boy days were a lot more traumatic than this account suggests. Walt had nightmares about the newspaper route for decades.

Where there is an obvious error in fact (rather than just colorful storytelling) I have put in a comment in parentheses and capital letters to make the correction.

So for your enjoyment, here for the first time in decades is the eight page RKO Biographical Sketch of Walt Disney:


Walt Disney’s valiant and Lilliputian Mickey Mouse is much more real to children, not only in America, but in every country in which his films are distributed, then Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. Unlike those symbolical childhood characters even sophisticated grown-ups believe solemnly in Mickey and his devoted sweetheart, Minnie. The Disney Silly Symphonies, those lovely colored bits of fantasy and whimsy, are America’s finest contribution to the world’s folklore. Legend has been made to walk and talk.

But of the young man Walt Disney who created them, little has ever been known or written – due mostly to his innate modesty, and to the fact that his work, the accomplishment of a dream, still interests him far more than the fame which has come to him because of it. It is time Walt Disney were made to walk and talk. Perhaps this story may bring you closer to him.

He was born in the city of Chicago, Illinois, on December 5th, 1901. He probably looked a little like Mickey Mouse at the time, since most new babies do. He real name is Walt Disney; his father was Elias Disney, an Irish-Canadian, and his mother, Flora Call Disney, is of German-American descent. He has three brothers and one sister.

Elias Disney was a contractor and builder in Chicago for twenty years; later the Disneys moved to a farm near Marceline, Missouri, where Walt attended a little country school and probably carried his lunch in a red lard pail. Later he went to the Benton Grammar School in Kansas City. He remembers being on the track team but he was too busy to be especially active in athletics. At the age of nine, he tackled his first business venture which was not unlike the financial debut of many young Americans. He had a paper route.

It was not always comfortable work,. He had to get up at 3:30 every morning, and deliver papers till 6:00. Then he hurried home for breakfast and went off to school. Every evening after school he made the same route.

“No,” he recalls with a boyish smile, “that’s not quite right. I missed a total of one month during those six years, on account of illness. I was pretty proud of my record, though.”

It was always pitch dark when he started out on winter mornings, and often bitter cold. Sometimes he plowed his way through several feet of freshly fallen snow, breaking his own path in those early hours. Occasionally, when he reached the warm hall of an apartment house, he would lie down for a short snooze – waking to find it was daylight. Then he’d have to run the rest of the way so that he could deliver all his papers and not be late for school.

Business interfered a great deal with his pleasure at this time; still he managed to be a member of the “gang,” build a few caves, join a couple of secret societies, the aims and aspirations of which are still a secret even to its members, and take part in a few shows.

He was always interested in the stage, and Charlie Chaplin was his idol. On amateur nights in neighborhood theatres he often did impersonations of the great silent comedian, for which he sometimes won prizes of as much as two dollars! He was not alone in his stage ambitions; his chum, a boy named Walt Pfeiffer, and he got up a vaudeville skit. Pfeiffer pere coached them, and the boy’s sister played the piano for their songs. Their billing read “The Two Walts.” and they won prizes in several local theatres.

Later on, in Chicago, finding another dramatic aspirant, Walt Tried to go into vaudeville with a “Dutch comedian” act. The act got, as he calls it, the hook – and his stage career ended. But he never entirely got over his early passion for disguises and sleight-of-hand tricks, and even now will attempt the latter occasionally unless watched carefully.

But the thing he always liked to do best, as far back as he can remember, was drawing. He doesn’t know why; nobody else in the Disney family is at all artistically inclined. The other boys are all business men, including his brother Roy who handles all of the studio’s business affairs. His were not the type of parents who doted on “showing off” their children’s talents. He got no particular inspiration from them or from his brother or sister, but could always count on sympathetic interest and encouragement. His favorite aunt supplied him with pencils and drawing tablets, he recalls; and a very dear old neighbor, a retired doctor, often “bought” his drawings with little presents.

“I remember one time especially,” he says, laughing. “I guess I was about seven. The doctor had a very fine stallion which he asked me to sketch. He held the animal while I worked with my home-made easel and materials. The result was pretty terrible – but both the doctor and his wife praised the drawing highly, to my great delight.”

At high school, McKinley High School in Chicago, Walt divided his attention between drawing and photography, doing illustration for the school paper and taking his first motion pictures with a camera and projector he had bought. Motion photography was to interest him more and more; it is his long interest in both mediums which has led to their happy combination in his pictures. Not content with school all day, he also went to night school at the Academy of Fine Arts, where he studied cartooning under Leroy Gossitt, a member of the old Chicago Herald staff.

His first real job was when in 1917, at the age of fifteen, school was over, he became what is known as a “news butcher.” With peanuts, candy, magazines, apples, he supplied the strange wants of people riding on trains between Kansas City and Chicago. Any boy of his age would have loved such a job. He liked traveling; he liked hanging nonchalantly on the steps of the train as it pulled into stations — and he loved wearing a uniform.

Sometimes he would go up and ride on the coal car with the engineers, buying that privilege with a cigar or a plug of tobacco. It was a job with a special sort of thrill.

“But it didn’t last long,” h regrets. “It wasn’t a very profitable venture. You see, I was only fifteen – and I ate up all my profits!”

During the summer of 1918, when there was a shortage of man power in Chicago on account of the War, Walt Disney decided to apply for a post office job. He was only sixteen, and looked it – and of course he was turned down. Here his talent for character disguise stood him in good stead, for he went straight home, changed his clothes; wearing a hat instead of a cap, he put on old make-up and promptly applied again for the job – and to the same man. Since his first application had not gotten as far as his name, and the man did not recognize him with ten years added, he got the job. He worked for several months as a down-town letter carrier in the daytime and a route collector at night.

That fall the War had set in in good earnest, and it was the fashion for young men to enlist. Turned down by both the Army and Navy and Canadian enlistment offices on account of his age, Walt felt as though he were too young for anything. He was finally successful in joining the Red Cross as a chauffeur. After a short period of training he was sent overseas, where he spent a year driving an ambulance and chauffeuring Red Cross officials. On one occasion he drove General Pershing’s son Jack then eleven years old, around Neufchateau, France, when the boy visited his famous father.

Walt had the distinction of driving one of the most unusual ambulances in France — for with all the excitement of war, he had not forgotten entirely about drawing. His vehicle of mercy was covered from stem to stern with works of art, and not stock camouflage, but original Disney sketches.

Although his education was not completed and he was only eighteen years old when the War suddenly stopped, Walt could not bear the thought of going back to school. He wanted to do something practical, something constructive. He took stock of his two ambitions: should he be an actor or an artist? It would be easier, he decided, to get a job as an artist; so an artist he would be.

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Jens Dahlmann of LongHorn Steakhouse has lots of great tips when it comes to grilling



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Sure, for some folks, the Fourth of July is all about fireworks. But for the 75% of all Americans who own a grill or a smoker, the Fourth is our Nation’s No. 1 holiday when it comes to grilling. Which is why 3 out of 4 of those folks will spend some time outside today working over a fire.

But here’s the thing: Though 14 million Americans can cook a steak with confidence because they actually grill something every week, the rest of us – because we use our grill or smoker so infrequently … Well, let’s just say that we have no chops when it comes to dealing with chops (pork, veal or otherwise).

So what’s a backyard chef supposed to in a situation like this when there’s so much at steak … er … stake? Turn to someone who really knows their way around a grill for advice. People like Jens Dahlmann, the Vice President and Corporate Executive Chef for Darden Restaurant’s LongHorn Steakhouse brand.

Given that Jens’ father & grandfather were chefs, this is a guy who literally grew up in a kitchen. In his teens & twenties, Dahlmann worked in hotels & restaurants all over Switzerland & Germany. Once he was classically trained in the culinary arts, Jens then  jumped ship. Well, started working on cruise ships, I mean.

Anyway … While working on Cunard’s Sea Goddess, Dahlmann met Sirio Maccioni, the founder of Le Cirque 2000. Sirio was so impressed with Jens’ skills in the kitchen that he offered him the opportunity to become sous-chef at this New York landmark. After four years of working in Manhattan, Dahlmann then headed south to become executive chef at Palm Beach’s prestigious Café L’Europe.

Jens Dahlmann back during his Disney World days

And once Jens began wowing foodies in Florida, it wasn’t all that long ’til the Mouse came a-calling. Mickey wanted Dahlmann to shake things up in the kitchen over at WDW’s Flying Fish Café. And he did such a good job with that Disney’s Boardwalk eatery the next thing Jens knew, he was then being asked to work his magic with the menu at the Contemporary Resort’s California Grill.

From there, Dahlmann had a relatively meteoric rise at the Mouse House. Once he became Epcot’s Food & Beverage general manager, it was only a matter of time before he wound up as the executive chef in charge of this theme park’s annual International Food & Wine Festival. Which – under Jens’ guidance – experienced some truly explosive growth.

“When I took on Food & Wine, that festival was only 35 days long and had gross revenues of just $5.5 million. When I left Disney in 2016, Food & Wine was now over 50 days long and that festival had gross revenues of $22 million,” Dahlmann admitted during a recent sit-down. “I honestly loved those 13 years I spent at Disney. When I was working there, I learned so much because I was really cooking for America.”

And it was exactly that sort of experience & expertise that Darden wanted to tap into when they lured Jens away from Mickey last year to become LongHorn Steakhouse’s new Vice President and Corporate Executive Chef. But today … Well, Dahlmann is offering tips to those of us who are thinking about cooking steak tips for the Fourth.

Photo by Jim Hill

“When you’re planning on grilling this holiday, if you’re looking for a successful result, the obvious place to start is with the quality of the meat you plan on cooking for your friends & family. If you want the best results here, don’t be cheap when you go shopping. Spend the money necessary for a fresh filet or a New York strip. Better yet a Ribeye, a nice thick one with good marbling. Because when you look at the marbling on a steak, that’s where all the flavor happens,” Jens explained. “That said, you always have to remember that — the higher you go with the quality of your meat — the less time you’re going to want that piece of meat to spend on the grill.”

And speaking of cooking … Before you even get started here, Jens suggests that you first take the time to check over all of your grilling equipment. Making sure that the grill itself is first scraped clean & then properly oiled before you then turn up the heat.

“If you’re working with a dirty grill, when you go to turn your meat, it may wind up sticking to the grill. Or maybe those spices that you’ve just so carefully coated your steak with will wind up sticking to the grill, rather than your meat,” Dahlmann continued. “Which is why it’s always worth it to spend a few minutes prior to firing up your grill properly cleaning & oiling it.”

Photo by Jim Hill

And speaking of heat … Again, before you officially get started grilling here, Jens says that it’s crucial to check your temperature gauges. Make sure that your char grill is set at 550 (so that it can then properly handle the thicker cuts of meat) and your flattop is set at 425 (so it can properly sear thinner pieces of meat).

Okay. Once you’ve bought the right cuts of quality meat, properly cleaned & oiled your grill, and then made sure that everything’s set at the right temperature (“If you can only stand to hold your hand directly over the grill for two or three seconds, that’s the right amount of heat,” Dahlmann said), it’s now time to season your steaks.

“Don’t be afraid to be bold here. You can’t be shy when it comes to seasoning your meat. You want to give it a nice coating. Largely because — if you’re using a char grill — a lot of that seasoning is just going to fall off anyway,” Jens stated. “It’s up to you to decide what sort of seasoning you want to use here. Even just some salt & pepper will enhance a steak’s flavor.”

Then – according to Dahlmann – comes the really tough part. Which is placing your meat on the grill and then fighting the urge to flip it too early or too often.

“The biggest mistake that a lot of amateur cooks make is that they flip the steak too many times. The real key to a well-cooked piece of meat is just let it be, “Jens insisted. “Of course, if you’re serving different cuts of meat at your Fourth of July feast, you always want to put your biggest thickest steak on the grill first. If you’re also cooking a New York Strip, you want to put that one on a few minutes later. But after that, just let the grill do its job and flip your meat a total of three or four times, once every three minutes or so.”

Of course, the last thing you want to do is overcook a quality piece of meat. Which is why Dahlmann suggests that – when it comes to grilling steaks – if you’re going to err, err on the side of undercooking.

“You can always put a piece of meat back on the grill if it’s slightly undercooked. When you over-cook something, all you can do then is start over with a brand-new piece of meat,” Jens said. “Just be sure that you’re using the correct cut of meat for the cooking result you’re aiming for. If someone wants a rare or medium rare steak, you should go with a thicker cut of steak. If one of your guests wants their steak cooked medium or well, it’s best to start with a thinner cut of meat.”

Photo by Jim Hill

As you can see, the folks at Longhorn take grilling steaks seriously. How seriously? Just last week at Darden Corporate Headquarters in Orlando, seven of these brand’s top grill masters (who – after weeks of regional competitions – had been culled from the 491 restaurants that make up this chain) competed for a $10,000 prize in the Company’s second annual Steak Master Series. And Dahlmann was one of the people who stood in Darden’s test kitchens, watching like a hawk as each of the contestants struggled to prepare six different dishes in just 20 minutes according to Longhorn Steakhouse’s exacting standards.

“I love that Darden does this. Recognizing the best of the best who work this restaurant,” Jens concluded. “We have a lot of people here who are incredibly knowledgeable & passionate when it comes to grilling.”

Speaking of which … If today’s story doesn’t include the exact piece of info that you need to properly grill that T-bone, just whip out your iPhone & text GRILL to 55702. Or – better yet – visit prior to firing up your grill or smoker later today. 

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Tuesday, July 4, 2017

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Brattleboro’s Strolling of the Heifers is a sincere if somewhat surreal way to spend a summer’s day in Vermont



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Some people travel halfway ‘around the planet so that they can then experience the excitement of the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. If you’re more of a Slow Living enthusiast (as I am), then perhaps you should amble to Brattleboro, VT. Where – over the first weekend in June – you can then join a herd of cow enthusiasts at the annual Strolling of the Heifers.

Now in its 16th year, this three-day long event typically gets underway on Friday night in June with a combination block party / gallery walk. But then – come Saturday morning – Main Street in Brattleboro is lined with thousands of bovine fans.

Photo by Jim Hill

They’ve staked out primo viewing spots and set up camp chairs hours ahead of time. Just so these folks can then have a front row seat as this year’s crop of calves (which all come from local farms & 4-H clubs) are paraded through the streets.

Photo by Jim Hill

Viewed from curbside, Strolling of the Heifers is kind of this weird melding of a sincere small town celebration and Pasadena’s Doo Dah Parade. Meaning that – for every entry that actually acknowledged this year’s theme (i.e. “Dance to the Moosic”) — …

Photo by Jim Hill

… there was something completely random, like this parade’s synchronized shopping cart unit.

Photo by Jim Hill

And for every piece of authentic Americana (EX: That collection of antique John Deere tractors that came chugging through the city) …

Photo by Jim Hill

… there was something silly. Like – say – a woman dressed as a Holstein pushing a baby stroller through the streets. And riding in that stroller was a pig dressed in a tutu.

Photo by Jim Hill

And given that this event was being staged in the Green Mountain State & all … Well, does it really surprise you to learn that — among the groups that marched in this year’s Strolling of the Heifers – was a group of eco-friendly folks who, with their  chants of “We’re Number One !,” tried to persuade people along the parade route not to flush the toilet after they pee. Because – as it turns out – urine can be turned into fertilizer.

Photo by Jim Hill

And speaking of fertilizer … At the tail end of the parade, there was a group of dedicated volunteers who were dealing with what came out of the tail end of all those cows.

Photo by Jim Hill

This year’s Strolling of the Heifers concluded at the Brattleboro town common. Where event attendees could then get a closer look at some of the featured units in this year’s parade…

Photo by Jim Hill

… or perhaps even pet a few of the participants.

Photo by Jim Hill

But as for the 90+ calves who took part in the 2017 edition of Strolling of the Heifers, once they reached the town common, it was now time for a nosh or a nap.

Photo by Jim Hill

Elsewhere on the common, keeping with this year’s “Dance to the Moosic” theme, various musical groups performed in & around the gazebo throughout the afternoon.

Photo by Jim Hill

While just across the way – keeping with Brattleboro’s tradition of showcasing the various artisans who live & work in the local community – some pretty funky pieces were on display at the Slow Living Exposition.

Photo by Jim Hill

All in all, attending Strolling of the Heifers is a somewhat surreal but still very pleasant way to spend a summer’s day in Vermont. And that’s no bull.

Photo by Jim Hill

Well, that could be a bull. To be honest, what with the wig & all, it’s kind of hard to tell. 

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Sunday, June 4, 2017

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Looking to make an authentic Irish meal for Saint Patrick’s Day? If so, then chef Kevin Dundon says not to cook corned beef & cabbage



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Let’s at least start on a positive note: Celebrated chef, author & TV personality Kevin Dundon – the man that Tourism Ireland has repeatedly chosen as the Face of Irish Food – loves a lot of what happens in the United States on March 17th.

“I mean, look at what they do in Chicago on Saint Patrick’s Day. They toss all of this vegetable-based dye into the Chicago River and then paint it green for a day. That’s terrific,” Kevin said.

But then when it comes to what many Americans eat & drink on St. Paddy’s Day (i.e., a big plate of corned beef and cabbage. Which is then washed down with a mug of green beer) … Well, that’s where Dundon has to draw the line.

Irish celebrity chef Kevin Dundon displays a traditional Irish loin of bacon with Colcannon potatoes and a Dunbrody Kiss chocolate dessert. Photo by Tom Burton. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

“Green beer? No real Irishman would be caught dead drinking that stuff,” Kevin insists. “And as for eating corned beef & cabbage … That’s not actually authentic Irish fare either. Bacon and cabbage? Sure. But corned beef & cabbage was something that the Irish only began eating after they’d come to the States to escape the Famine. And even then these Irish-Americans only began serving corned beef & cabbage to their friends & family because they had to make do with the ingredients that were available to them at that time.”

And thus begins the strange tale of how corned beef & cabbage came to be associated with the North American celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day celebration. Because – according to Dundon – beef just wasn’t all that big a part of the Irish diet back in the 19th century.

To explain: Back in the Old Country, cattle – while they were obviously highly prized for the milk & cheese that they produced – were also beasts of burden. Meaning that they were often used for ploughing the fields or for hauling heavy loads. Which is why – back then — these animals were rarely slaughtered when they were still young & healthy. If anything, land owners liked to put a herd of cattle on display out in one of their pastures because that was then a sign to their neighbors that this farm was prosperous.

“Whereas pork … Well, everybody raised pigs back then. Which is why pork was a staple of the Irish diet rather than beef,” Dundon continued.

So if that’s what people actually ate back in the Old Country, how then did corned beef & cabbage come to be so strongly associated with Saint Patrick’s Day in the States.? That largely had to do with where the Irish wound up living after they arrived in the New World.

“When the Irish first arrived in America following the Great Famine, a lot of them wound up living in the inner city right alongside the Germans & the Jews, who were also recent immigrants to the States. And while that farm-fresh pork that the Irish loved wasn’t readily available, there was brisket. Which the Irish could then cure by first covering this piece of meat with corn kernel-sized pieces of rock salt – that’s how it came to be called corned beef. Because of the sizes of the pieces of rock salt that were used in the curing process – and then placing all that in a pot of water with other spices to soak for a few days.”

And as for the cabbage portion of corned beef & cabbage … Well, according to Kevin, in addition to buying their meat from the kosher delis in their neighborhood, the Irish would also frequent the stores that the German community shopped in. Where – thanks to their love of sauerkraut (i.e., pickled cabbage) – there was always a ready supply of cabbage to be had.

“So when you get right down to it, it was the American melting pot that led to corned beef & cabbage being found in the Irish-American cooking pot,” Dundon continued. “Since they couldn’t find or didn’t have easy access to the exact same ingredients that they had back in Ireland, Irish-Americans made do with what they could find in the immediate vicinity. And what they made was admittedly tasty. But it’s not actually authentic Irish fare.”

Mind you, what Kevin serves at Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant at Disney Springs (which – FYI – Orlando Magazine voted as the area’s best restaurant back in 2014) is nothing if not authentic. Dundon and his team at this acclaimed gastropub pride themselves on making traditional Irish fare and then contemporized it.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

“Take – for example – what we serve here instead of corned beef & cabbage. Again, because it was pork – rather than beef – that was the true staple of the Irish diet back then, what we offer instead is a loin of bacon that has been glazed with Irish Mist. That then comes with colcannon potatoes. Which is this traditional Irish dish that’s made up of mashed potato that have had some cabbage & bacon mixed through it,” Kevin enthused. “This heavenly ham – that’s what we actually call this traditional Irish dish at Raglan Road, Kevin’s Heavenly Ham – also includes some savory cabbage with a parsley cream sauce as well as a raisin cider jus. It’s simple food. But because of the basic ingredients – and that’s the real secret of Irish cuisine. That our ingredients are so strong – the flavors just pop off the plate.”

Which brings us to the real challenge that Dundon and the Raglan Road team face every day. Making sure that they actually have all of the ingredients necessary to make this traditional-yet-contemporized Irish fare to those folks who frequent this Walt Disney World favorite.

“Take – for example – the fish we serve here. We only used cold water fish. Salmon, mussels and haddock that have been hauled out of the Atlantic, the ocean that America and Ireland share,” Kevin stated. “Not that there’s anything wrong with warm water fish. It’s just that … Well, it doesn’t have the same structure. It’s a softer fish, which doesn’t really fit the parameters of Irish cuisine. And if you’re going to serve authentic food, you have to be this dedicated when it comes to sourcing your ingredients.

Copyright Mitchell Beazley. All rights reserved

And if you’re thinking of perhaps trying to serve an authentic Irish meal this year, rather than once again serving corned beef & cabbage at your Saint Patrick’s Day Feast … Well, back in September of last year, Mitchell Beazley published “The Raglan Road Cookbook: Inside America’s Favorite Irish Pub.” This 296-page hardcover not only includes the recipe for Kevin’s Heavenly Ham but also it tells the tale of how this now-world-renown restaurant wound up being built in Orlando.

On the other hand, if you happen to have to the luck of the Irish and are actually down at The Walt Disney World Resort right now, it’s worth noting that Raglan Road is right in the middle of its Mighty St. Patrick’s Day Festival. This four day-long event – which includes Irish bands and professional dancers – stretches through Sunday night. And in addition to all that authentic Irish fare that Dundon and his team are cooking up, you also sample the fine selection of beers & cocktails that this establishment’s four distinct antique bars (each of which are more than 130 years old and were imported directly from Ireland) will be serving. Just – As ucht Dé (That’s “For God’s Sake” in Gaelic) – don’t make the mistake of asking the bartender there for a mug of green beer.

“Why would anyone willingly drink something like that?,” Dundon laughed. “I mean, just imagine what their washroom will look like the morning after.”

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Friday, March 17, 2017

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