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Why For is Disney already doing damage control on “The Princess and the Frog” ?

Jim Hill reveals why the Mouse's PR department has gone into overdrive in their attempt to defuse the PC controversy that currently surrounds Ron'n'John's next movie. You see, it's not just the future of traditional animation at Walt Disney Studios that may be riding on "The Princess and the Frog." But also the DVD release of "Song of the South"



First up, Jacob L. writes in to ask:

Did you see that story earlier this week about how Disney's PR department was reaching out to all these websites, telling them that much of the information that's now posted on the Web about "The Princess and the Frog" is wrong ? I don't recall the Walt Disney Company ever doing anything like that before. What's up with that ?

Two words, Jacob. Damage control.

Never in the entire history of the Walt Disney Company has the studio's PR department had to deal with a situation like this. Responding to people who are writing angry editorials about a motion picture that they haven't seen yet. That won't even reach theaters for another 2 1/2 years.

Of course, what's ironic about all this was that "The Princess and the Frog" (formerly known as "The Frog Princess") was supposed to be the film that would bring about the triumphant return of traditional animation at Walt Disney Studios. Which is why Mickey's public relations staff thought that the official announcement of this movie — which will feature Disney's first-ever African-American Princess — would be greeted with tons of positive coverage.

Instead the exact opposite happened. Almost from the moment that John Lasseter stood on stage at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and told the Disney shareholders who were gathered at this year's annual meeting that …

"I'm proud to announce we've started production on a (new) movie.

We are going back to hand-drawn animation — Go ahead, clap. I'm clapping too. I love animation. We're also going back to classic Disney fairytale, but this one is an American fairytale. It is called 'The Frog Princess.'

Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, LLC

The Frog Princess is being written and directed by John Musker and Ron Clements, who did 'The Little Mermaid' and 'Aladdin,' among other great movies. And it's a fantastic, fantastic story, and I'm really proud to say The Frog Princess takes place entirely in New Orleans.

The movie is completely set in New Orleans, with the fabulous French Quarter, the beautiful Garden District, the mystic bayou, the mighty Mississippi. It's full of what this city has that's so wonderful that I love so much. It's got the jazz, the Mardi Gras; it's got the voodoo spells. In fact, it even has a soulful, singing alligator, and it's great.

The main character of the story, our hero, is named Maddy. And I am very, very proud to announce that she is the very first African American Disney princess. We're really proud and excited about this. This is a fantastic story, this movie is going to be classic Disney, yet you've never seen one like it before.

… the politically-correct types came out of the woodwork and began finding reasons to bitch and moan about this yet-to-be-animated animated feature.

Chief among their complaints were:

  • The name "Maddy" sounded too much like "Mammy" and/or "Addy" (Which supposedly was a slave name)
  • Maddy starts off this film working as a chamber maid for Charlotte, a rich, white, spoiled Southern débutante. Which — to some particularly sensitive types — also smacked of slavery.
  • The film's original title — "The Frog Princess" — was interpreted (by some) to be insulting toward France. Or — at the very least — a slur on French royalty.

Now here are poor Ron'n' John (Who are already having to deal with the enormous pressure that comes from knowing that traditional animation's future at Walt Disney Studios is pretty much riding on how well "The Frog Princess" does at the box office) trying to make the best possible movie they can … Only to then find themselves caught in the middle of this politically-correct firestorm. Where op-ed writers were pouring over their film's casting list, actively looking for things that they can then pretend to be offended (EX: The number of people who expressed outrage that the movie's villain — Dr. Duvalier — is a smooth sinister black man who practices voodoo).

 Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, LLC

Disney did what they could to quickly address people's concerns about this motion picture. Which is why — over the past two months — they got word out that the film's title had been changed from "The Frog Princess" to "The Princess and the Frog." They also used that "Enchanted" article that Susan Wloszczyna wrote for U.S.A. Today last week to let animation fans know that Maddy's name had been changed to Tiana.

But the "Frog Princess" furor still refused to die down. Which is why — earlier this week — the Walt Disney Company took the unprecedented step of reaching out to BET, Suite101, the A-List and several other websites who had previously published negative pieces about this still-in-development animation feature and issuing the following statement:

"While it is a Studio policy that we do not comment on our animated films while they are in the early stages of production due to the nature of our evolving development process, it has come to our attention that there is incorrect information being circulated about Disney's 2009 motion picture 'The Princess and the Frog' (whose previous working title was 'The Frog Princess').

The central character is a young girl named Princess Tiana. The story takes place in the charming elegance and grandeur of New Orleans' fabled French Quarter during the Jazz Age. She is the newest addition to the Studio's royal family of 'Disney Princesses.' Princess Tiana will be a heroine in the great tradition of Disney's rich animated fairy tale legacy, and all other characters and aspects of the story will be treated with the greatest respect and sensitivity.

This American fairy tale is several years away from completion and the creative process is ongoing. No other details regarding the film have been released at this point, and unfortunately much of the information that has surfaced, including the casting breakdown … is inaccurate. When we do casting calls we frequently use substitute information as we don't want details out about the movies. Therefore that information you have is incorrect."

Mind you, Disney PR is hoping that this blanket the-Web-has-bad-info-about-"The-Princess-and-the-Frog" statement will then allow the politically-correct controversy that currently surrounds this still-in-development animated feature to finally dissipate. Which will then allow Ron'n'John and their production team to get back to the business of making the most entertaining movie they can.

But what about that other politically-correct controversy that threatens to consume "The Princess and the Frog" ? What am I talking about ? Let's start with this e-mail that I received from Jen B. :

Hi Jim,

I just found your site and as a Disney lover I have to tell you it is wonderful reading. I was wondering if you had any recent information about a "Song of the South" release in the US.




Dear Jen —

Okay. This is one of those somewhat circular connect-the-dots stories. So please bear with me, okay?

 Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, LLC

Earlier this year (At the very same meeting where John Lasseter officially announced "The Frog Princess," in fact), Bob Iger revealed that he had just placed Dick Cook — the Chairman of Walt Disney Studios — in charge of determining whether or not the Walt Disney Company should release "Song of the South" on DVD.

Now a few weeks ago, I heard that Dick Cook reportedly asked Ron'n'John if it would be possible to have an entire sequence from "The Princess and the Frog" (Formerly known as "The Frog Princess") completed by the late Summer / early Fall of 2008. And by completed, I mean voiced, animated, edited, fully scored and color-corrected.

Soooo … Why would Cook need a sequence of this film completed within the next 15 months ? It's simple, really. Dick supposedly wanted this excerpt from "The Princess and the Frog" to be an extra feature on the "Song of the South" DVD. So that this 2009 film can then effectively run interference for that 1946 Academy Award winner.

To explain: What the Mouse was hoping to do with this completed sequence from "The Princess and the Frog" was when people would then raise objections to "Song of the South" and its depiction of blacks, Disney officials would then be able to point to this excerpt from their studio's upcoming traditionally animated feature and say "Look, back in the 1940s, we may have depicted African-Americans in a sometimes clichéd, often despicable fashion. But we don't do that anymore. Look how even-handed we are with the characters from 'The Princess and the Frog.' How we don't use any stereotypes with this film."

 Copyright 1946 Walt Disney Productions

It was hoped that — by doing this — Disney officials would then give those who would automatically hammer on "Song of the South" because of the way that film depicts blacks much less to complain about. Defuse the situation, so to speak.

The only problem with this plan that it was dreamed up prior to "The Frog Princess" being consumed by its own PC controversy. Now, there are those at the Mouse House who wonder if it's wise to link these projects. Thereby making both "Song of the South" and "The Princess and the Frog" bigger targets for politically-correct types.

However, should the complaints about Ron'n'John's newest project actually be defused by that statement that Disney released to the Web earlier this week … Well, the company might (And let me stress that word again: might) try putting "Song of the South" out in stores in time for the 2008 holiday shopping season.

And just so you know, Jen … Disney's supposedly considering making "Song of the South" a title that they'd then release under their recently resurrected "Disney Treasures" line. Which could possibly mean a very small production run for this particular DVD. Something along the lines of 150,000 to 500,000 units tops. Just to sort of test the waters. To see if there'd actually be an uproar if the Walt Disney Company were to make this 60+ year-old film widely available for sale in the U.S.

If that Disney Treasures version of this film does well … Well, look for the Mouse — a year or so later — to make another, wide-open edition of "Song of the South" available for purchase. But only in the Disney Blu-Ray format. Which would (in theory) provide consumers with yet another incentive to invest in HD technology.

Of course, a lot of things can happen between now and the 2008 holiday season, Jen. Disney could get cold feet about "Song of the South" and/or decide that "The Princess and the Frog" is already far too controversial. Which is why they then wouldn't dare to do anything to link these two films.

But — that said — this shows that the Walt Disney Company is once again looking for ways that they can then release "Song of the South" to the U.S. market. Which should give all you animation fans out there some reason to hope again … I think.

Your thoughts ?

Jim Hill is an entertainment writer who has specialized in covering The Walt Disney Company for nearly 40 years now. Over that time, he has interviewed hundreds of animators, actors, and Imagineers -- many of whom have shared behind-the-scenes stories with Mr. Hill about how the Mouse House really works. In addition to the 4000+ articles Jim has written for the Web, he also co-hosts a trio of popular podcasts: “Disney Dish with Len Testa,” “Fine Tooning with Drew Taylor” and “Marvel US Disney with Aaron Adams.” Mr. Hill makes his home in Southern New Hampshire with his lovely wife Nancy and two obnoxious cats, Ginger & Betty.

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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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