2018 Primetime Emmy
& James Beard Award Winner

If You Can’t Get the Food You Love, Love the Food You Get

If You Can’t Get the Food You Love, Love the Food You Get

Fish and Chips on the Rosslare-Cherbourg Ferry

The day before we got on the ferry from Rosslare, Ireland to Cherbourg, France, we had celebrated with a trip to the Hotel Rosslare’s pub.

Rosslare, in County Wexford, is barely a town. Besides the Europort ferry terminal, it’s home to a strip mall, with a supermarket, a post office, and a café that serves the most sweetly unpleasant chili this side of China. There are walking trails and a nice slice of beach, but on this wet winter day, neither were very appealing. But the Hotel Rosslare’s pub was.

The pub looks over a cliff to the beach and ferry port below. Here we downed six pints of cheap Irish lager before boarding. On the boat, we discovered the bar was open, and had a bunch more with our new friends, since it’s really easy to make friends in Ireland after six pints.

The cabins were booked up but the main passenger area was almost completely deserted. We passed out stretched across a line of seats each, and woke throughout the night with pains in our backs, hips, necks, and legs from the seats.

By the time we woke for good, around 10:30 a.m., all we could think of was a full Irish breakfast at the canteen. We brushed the wrinkles from our clothes, locked our bags to our seats, and went leaping across ship for our eggs, beans, bacon, and sausages.

Alas, a sharp-eyed Norwegian madam told us we would not be having any Irish breakfast, or indeed, any breakfast at all.

“Canteen closes at 10:00,” she said. (Or maybe she said 9:30, it was all rather hazy.) “Canteen reopens for lunch at 12:30.” (This one I’m sure of.)

“Will you have breakfast food?” I asked hopefully.

She looked at me like I was the most complete idiot she had ever dealt with. “It’s lunch at 12:30,” she answered dryly. “We will be serving lunch.”

I felt like the kid who thought he was getting a Nintendo for Christmas, only to open up a box of socks. Totally deflated, we went into the bar and got coffee, and then sat trying to read over the blare of the BBC.

At 12:30, we were ready, waiting to pounce like jungle cats. I was first in line with my tray, and after verifying again they weren’t serving Irish breakfast, we got two orders of fish and chips, which we figured was the next best thing.

We feasted like stoners, our gullets crammed with fried cod, salted fries with ketchup and vinegar, and mushy peas. It wasn’t what we wanted, but if you can’t get the food you love, love the food you get.

Three hours later, we waddled off into the French sunshine, satiated, but still wishing we had gotten that last full Irish breakfast.

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