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Wednesdays with Wade: Walt’s Christmas Story

Wade Sampson shares a highlight of this year’s JHM Christmas Party. Which was Jim Korkis telling the story of the Christmas that literally changed Walt Disney’s life

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During the holiday season, there are many wonderful Disney related Christmas stories. I thought about writing about my favorite Disney Christmas cartoons or live-action movies or the history of the Candlelight Processional or the Osborne Festival of Lights. Then it occured to me that one of my favorite Disney holiday stories has never appeared fully in print. Highly abbreviated versions are in both the Diane Disney Miller biography of her father and in the classic “Walt Disney: An American Original” by Bob Thomas.

For those who were unable to attend this year’s Jim Hill Media Christmas Party in Orlando, one of the highlights was Disney Historian Jim Korkis telling the complete story of the Christmas present that gave us the Walt Disney that we all know today. Jim spent many years tracking down the full story and confirming the facts and one of the things that folks like about Jim is how freely he shares information that cost him time and money to obtain.

Jim Korkis is all smiles as he poses with one of the guests at this year’s JHM Christmas Party:
Margaret Kerry, the original model for Tinker Bell in Disney’s “Peter Pan”
(Photo by Stephan Solovitz)

So as Christmas approaches, I thought I would ask Jim if he would be kind enough to share the full story and, of course, being a Disney Historian and a nice guy, Jim felt it would be his way of giving a gift to all of those who love the true spirit of Disney as much as he does. So here it is:

“Walt’s father, Elias, bought a newspaper distributorship in Kansas City, Missouri which meant that he had a certain area where he was responsible for the daily delivery of the newspaper. He hired boys to deliver the papers, paying them up to $2.50 a week. His son, Walt, also delivered those papers starting at age eight but was paid nothing. Elias felt that since he provided clothing and food for his son that was payment enough.

In addition to doing his paper route, Walt earned extra money by delivering prescriptions for a local drugstore and sold extra newspapers on street corners without his father knowing about it. During the noon recess at school, he swept out the candy store across from the school in return for a hot meal. Some days after school, he wasn’t even able to steal a few minutes to play football or hockey with his school friends because he had to deliver the afternoon edition of the newspaper.

Walt never forgot his days as a newsboy and some of those memories weren’t always pleasant ones. Walt had re-occuring nightmares throughout his life and one of them was that he had missed customers on my paper route. He’d wake up in a kind of a cold sweat and think, ‘Gosh, I’ve got to hurry and get back. My dad will be waiting up at that corner.’ His dad really wanted to make that business a success after so many other failures and Walt could sense that anxiety.

Young Walt’s route was in a fairly wealthy neighborhood. They were certainly much better off finanically than the Disney family at the time. Walt would start out at 3:30 in the morning and some of the kids in the neighborhood had wonderful toys and often they would leave them out on the porch after playing with them the previous evening.

Walt didn’t have any toys. If he got a top or marbles or something, it was a big deal. Everything his parents gave him was something practical like underwear or a winter jacket. His older brother Roy was the one who set aside some extra money from his job so that Walt and his younger sister Ruth would always get some small toy for Christmas.

Anyway, there would be kid’s toys out on these big porches. At four o’clock in the morning in the dark, Walt would put his paper bag down and go up and play with these wind-up trains and things. He’d sit there and play all alone with them. One time he came to a porch and there were some toys as well as a box of half eaten candy. So he sat there and ate some of the half-eaten candy and played with the toys.

When Walt told about this time in his life, he always insisted on saying that he left the toys in good shape and always carefully put them back in the same place so the families wouldn’t know he’d played with them. Then he’d have to hurry and finish his route before school started.

In the wintertime, he had to get up at 3:00 in the morning for awhile and he’d fall back asleep sitting on the edge of his bed, tying his shoes. His dad would yell ‘Walter!’ and he’d wake up with his heart racing and finish tying his shoes.

He delivered the papers to the apartments first. He’d go up three floors and deliver to all the doors and come down. Years later, he could remember with clarity those icy cold days when he was just a kid. One time the snow drifts were higher than he was. The weather records for Kansas City confirms that fact. On those icy cold days he’d sometimes have to crawl up those icy, slippery steps. Walt once told his daughters that he would sometimes slip down the steps and just cry because he was all alone and so cold.

In the winter Elias would insist that every paper had to go behind the storm door. On these days when Walt finally got home, people had looked out on their porch but wouldn’t open the front door. They’d look on the porch and see no paper and they’d go and phone Elias to complain and Walt’s dad would say sternly, ‘Walter, did you forget to deliver to so and so?’ And his dad wouldn’t believe him when he told them he had.

Elias would say ‘Well, they say they didn’t find it. Now here, here’s a paper.’ Walt would have to go all the way back up there. Young Walt would struggle back through the cold and go up and ring the bell. When they’d come, he’d open the storm door and the paper would fall at their feet and Walt would be standing holding another one outside. They’d say something like ‘Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t look there’. No matter how often it happened, they’d still forget to look there.

One Christmas when Walt was about thirteen, he decided he wanted these boots. The kids at school were all wearing boots then and he really wanted a pair of these high leather boots with metal toes and decorated leather strips over the laces. Walt knew that money was tight and that his dad would never agree to such an extravagance so he tried arguing that the boots would be very practical for delivering newspapers through the slush and rain. It would give him more traction and so he could deliver the papers quicker. His dad didn’t agree.

Walt remembered hounding his parents for quite awhile hoping the boots would appear as a birthday present or for Christmas. Well, Walt’s mom, Flora had put aside a few pennies each week from the housekeeping budget without her husband knowing and Roy had gotten some extra work and contributed that money so on that Christmas, Walt got his pair of boots.

He ran downtown and leaned against a drugstore near the intersection of Thirty-First and Indiana showing off his new boots in hopes that some of his school friends might pass by. It was a warmer winter and some of the ice had already started to melt a bit.

According to Walt about six o’clock, it got dark at that time of year and he decided to go back home. While he was walking across the street, he came up with a new game to kill time. There were hunks of ice frozen in the street because the street was where the ice would start to melt first. So with those new boots on he was kicking these hunks of ice. He’d kick them loose and they skid across the street and Walt was trying to figure what new variations he could create by kicking harder or softer or at an angle.

He came up to kick one hunk of ice and got stuck. He tried to pull his foot out and he couldn’t. There was no leverage. There was a nail frozen in that block of ice. A big horseshoe nail. The nail had gone right through the boot into his foot.

There wasn’t anyone around. They were all home with their families at that time. Walt couldn’t break the hunk of ice loose. He couldn’t put any pressure on his foot and he started to panic and just yelled: “Help! Help!”

Walt said that streetcars went by as he waved and yelled, “Help!” They just looked at him and went on by. Even people walking a block away didn’t stop. They thought he was a kid playing around. They didn’t realize he was stuck to that piece of ice.

Walt claimed he was stuck that way for a good twenty minutes before a horsedrawn delivery wagon came by. Walt yelled, “Help! I’m stuck! I’m stuck!” But the guy didn’t believe him. He started to go on. And Walt finally broke into tears. And the driver stopped. He said suspciously, “Are you kidding?” And Walt through his tears said, “No, I’m stuck!”

So the driver came back and looked and saw what had happened. He had to go and get a tool to chop the ice loose. And he carried the small frail boy down the corner where there was a doctor’s office. He took Walt up to the doctor’s office and the only thing the doctor could do was get a big pair of pliers and put two people holding the young boy’s legs down. He said, “Kid, I can’t do anything for you. I haven’t got anything to give you. Just hang on.”

So Walt had to grit his teeth as the doctor got these huge metal pliers to dig in and pull the nail out of his foot. In order to do that, the doctor had to cut the boot off. Then he went in and he had to open up the hole to get the dirt out and then, of course, came the tetanus shot.

Walt was laid up for two weeks. He had to lay on the couch in the living room with his foot elevated. He felt terrible. How could he have been so stupid as to kick blocks of ice? The Disney family would never be able to afford another pair of boots. The fear of being trapped alone on that street came back to haunt his dreams.

Unable to go to school and with no radio or other forms of entertainment, all Walt could do was read or sketch cartoons in a big pad given him by his aunt. At one time, he had seriously considered being a doctor or a lawyer but finally realized that he wasn’t an exceptional student. With all the work he was doing, he would sometimes try to catch a catnap in class and miss important information.

He didn’t have the grades necessary to go to a good college and his family would never be able to afford to send him to college even if he did. He thought about performing and while he had had some recognition with his various comedy acts, he really did lack the self confidence to pursue a career on the larger vaudeville circuit.

He realized that he loved cartooning. His drawings got chuckles from the people at the local barbershop as well as his fellow students at school. When his mother went to the school to pick up his homework, she would drop off those cartoons and then report back to him on the positive reactions they had gotten.

By the time his foot healed, he had made a firm decision to become a professional cartoonist. Certainly it was an odd choice for a poor boy and there weren’t many opportunities for cartoonists. Most newspapers already had their staff cartoonists and weren’t looking for new talent.

Very reluctantly, his father allowed him to take his first art lessons on Saturday mornings at the Kansas City Art Institute. When the family moved to Chicago a year or so later, Walt took more classes at the Chicago Academy of Fine Art and studied with Leroy Gossitt who was a cartoonist for the “Chicago Herald” newspaper.

Walt soon joined up for the WWI ambulance corp in France less than three years after getting those boots. When he returned to the United States, he was ready for his future.

It was that gift of a pair of boots that gave the world the Walt Disney we know today. It was that gift that helped a thirteen year old focus on what his future would be and to marshall all his efforts to make that dream come true.

So this holiday season, look very carefully at that present you give or receive. Just like Walt, it could be the one that transforms your future.”

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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  ExpertGriller.com 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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