Food Glorious Food…

Unique and quirky Siopa Gan Ainm –Shop With No Name – is located on the Coal Quay at number 3 Cornmarket St, Cork city. This farm shop and café is open from Wednesday to Saturday. It serves wholesome, honest-to-goodness local food. The shop sells fresh-farm vegetables, meats, free-range eggs, cheese, milk, jams and honey as well as being used in their dishes for breakfast, brunch, lunch and ‘high tea’. This is where I go when I need to go to the city. The chef starts the day by offering breakfast; there is something for everyone, whether you are in the mood for a hearty breakfast or a light bite of French pastries such as croissants. Drop in for your mid-morning coffee and scone. Lunchtime offers a daily dish-of-the-day alongside the usual menu. Pop in for afternoon tea with a slice homemade tart topped up with freshly whipped cream or a slice of cake; there is a great selection of ‘leaf’ teas. Here you will find all local produce, menus cater for vegetarians too. I usually enjoy the ‘veggie breakfast’ if I’m having an early lunch and I’m fortunate enough that it’s still being served at that time of the day – the best poached eggs, just as I prefer them otherwise my choice leans towards the ‘veggie toastie’.

Siopa Gan Ainm

There is a homely feel to the place. The owner and staff are friendly. Be aware that waiting times can be (but not always) a little long but please bear with them. Staff members are overseas students who want to improve their English. Once your plate is placed in front of you, you will not be sorry for the wait. Whether it’s the homemade soup or grilled sandwiches, the food is always tasty. The seating is colourful; tables are placed somewhat haphazardly as the place is small. Regulars have no problem sharing their table if needs be as it can get very busy; they enjoy a good banter. There is always someone to chat to; however, there are newspapers and books if you prefer to read. During the winter months there is a wood fire burning which brings a cosy atmosphere to the place. I enjoy having lunch there when I’m in town and usually indulge in some home baking afterwards. Drop in for a look and perhaps you’ll stop for a bite…

The shop is associated with the weekly Saturday Framers’ Market, also located on the Coal Quay. From 9 am stalls are erected; home-grown vegetables, homemade breads, goats’ milk and cheese, locally-grown apples, and plants and flowers. So much to choose from… during the summer season locals are delighted by the presence of Irish-grown summer fruits – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries – scrumptious. And, to top all that, pots of homemade jams are arranged alongside the wonderful-tasting fruits. We are fortunate enough to be an island nation and, therefore, fresh fish is easily available. All these family-run businesses are an inherent part of Cork’s cityscape.   

Quality NOT Quantity

Food waste is the scourge of 21st-century society. However, it is up to each one of us, as individuals, to make conscious decisions about the food we eat and, therefore, the food we buy. We could begin to considerably reduce food waste and consequently food shortage. Being mindful about food waste is one of the many solutions to feeding the world’s population. There is enough food for all of us we just need to think about how we eat. We have the power to change the society in which we live, we are society. Governments and multinational food companies respond to what we, society, the people, want. We set the trends and the multinationals follow; their number one priority is to make money.

We have never been so educated to make informed decisions; information is at our finger tips…literally! Be an ‘ingredient reader’; indeed it takes time in the beginning but practice makes perfect and in no time it will become second-nature. Be aware of the food you’re buying and where it comes from.

Buy local, eat local. Don’t be afraid to make a stand. Be part of positive change. Show your family and friends and especially your children that we all have the power to change.

Be aware of seasons as that is when food is at its best. Remember, what food you put in your mouth is who you are. You have one body, one life, one shot at it. Life is a theatre performance not a film with multiple ‘takes and cuts’!

I recall my early 20s living in Paris, admiring the food stalls at weekly markets or at the greengrocer’s. They were so vibrantly colourful. I always bought French produce and when it was not possible I bought food imported from neighbouring countries. It was always about reducing food miles and supporting local.

Eating better means eating less and spending less and less waste. It also means an even food-distribution for all of us. Buying local means eating fresh produce which is healthier and tastier because it’s seasonal! Support local food growers, fishers and farmers.

Reducing food waste starts at home. It is rather simple; check the ‘larder’ before you go grocery shopping. Make a shopping list and stick to it! Think local to reduce food miles.

So… buy local, eat fresh, and reduce waste & food miles. Be an actor of positive change.