Darina Allen has helped us put dinners on the table, week in and week out

As Darina Allen marks 21 years of her column for The Irish Examiner, Weekend editor Vickie Maye pays tribute.

Darina Allen has helped us put dinners on the table, week in and week out

When the Irish Examiner realised Darina’s weekly column was reaching this milestone, we knew we had to mark the occasion. Here, in this special magazine, we reprint some of Darina’s favourite columns and recipes, from family meals, to highlights from her travels, to her determined campaigning.

For the last 21 years Darina has used her column with Weekend as the longest course in the history of Ballymaloe. She has pushed our boundaries, introducing us to new tastes and ways of cooking, always underpinned with a healthy dose of humour.

Her column was originally called Foolproof Food and her singular goal of arming Irish households with an arsenal of recipes to keep us well fed remains the case today.

She has helped us put dinners on our tables, week in and week out, while educating us about the importance of eating as our ancestors did, and appreciating the country that we come from.

I have been editor of Weekend for 10 of Darina’s 21 years writing for the Irish Examiner.

It has been an honour to read her column each week, to meet with her at Ballymaloe Cookery School, chatting over homemade scones and coffee, always leaving with free range eggs, or a loaf of freshly made bread, such is Darina’s generosity.

Over the last number of months Darina and her staff have been equally giving with their time, opening their doors to our team, allowing us to spend time with her own personal archive and affording us endless interview opportunities.

To condense her body of work into a magazine is impossible, so instead we have drawn on her columns past and present to create these 56 pages.

It is a grateful acknowledgement and a tribute to the woman who keeps us on the straight and narrow in the kitchen and reminds us daily that good food doesn’t have to be fancy. It just has to be cooked with care

Darina, we thank you again for 21 years of wonderful recipes.

Don't miss our special keepsake supplement free with Saturday's print edition where we’ve gone behind the scenes at Ballymaloe Cookery School to meet the team who train the culinary stars of tomorrow ... and get a sneak peek at some of their favourite recipes.

Darina Allen has helped us put dinners on the table, week in and week out

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