Gerry Moran bemoans the loss of a former favourite from our menus


Whatever happened to dumplings that’s what I want to know? Remember dumplings? Great big, doughy, lumpy, bumpy, scrumptious dumplings, bobbing about in a bowl of thick brown stew. Warm, comforting, chewy dumplings that tasted of tender love and care. And home.

You could go to just about every restaurant in your home town, every restaurant in Ireland (and God knows there’s plenty of them in it) you could go this very day , and every day for the next week or month or year, but I don’t believe you’ll ever find dumplings on the menu. Oh, you’ll get Quiche and Lasagne and Vol au Vents and curries. But no dumplings. You’ll find crepes, croquettes, courgettes and crostini. But you won’t find dumplings.

You’ll get Chinese food, Italian food and nouvelle cuisine. You’ll find vegetarian dishes, even vegan dishes. But you still won’t find dumplings. You’ll probably be lucky to find stew on the menu. And even if you do, it’ll more than likely be a dumpling-less stew. I’m a bit depressed, very depressed actually, about the absence of dumplings from our tables.

Have they become extinct, I wonder. I mean does anyone make them or cook them anymore? Are there any housewives out there who serve dumplings to their children? Or maybe the modern housewife doesn’t know what a dumpling is. Is that possible, I wonder?

Please tell me it’s not. Then again I wouldn’t be surprised. I mean it’s all convenience food these days: pizzas, pancakes, burgers, fish fingers, sure the unfortunate dumpling doesn’t get a look in and the ubiquitous microwave is not helping.

I’m all for starting a ‘Bring Back the Dumpling’ campaign. After all we have a ‘Save the Planet’ campaign, ‘Save the Whale’ campaign (and I’ve never even seen a whale, in the flesh so to speak) so why not a ‘Save the Dumpling’ campaign?

I’m seriously thinking of getting together with a few concerned and committed dumpling-lovers and dropping a few lines to our restaurateurs about introducing dumplings to their respective menus. Just think of some of the interesting dishes they could serve:

Glazed Dumplings & Tossed Salad; Dumplings with Duck Terrine & Orange Sauce; Slivers of Dumpling with Strips of Smokey Bacon; Baby Dumplings with Baby Spinach, Sorrel & Sage (for the vegetarians and vegans); Dumpling Delight, a duo of springy dumplings, smothered in rich brown gravy.

The possibilities are endless, well plentiful shall we say. I have even toyed with the idea of opening a dumpling store which would, like a doughnut shop (think Dunkin’ Doughnuts), specialise in dumplings only.

I can see it now in my mind’s eye: The Dumpling Depot, Serving Delicious Dumplings, from Dawn Till Dusk. Now if I can only get a local Enterprise grant for it I’ll be in business. In the meantime, dumpling lovers of Ireland, north and south, unite and make our voices heard, make our appetites known.

Bring back the dumpling now. Before it’s too late. Before it becomes extinct!