An Oyster Poacher’s Guide to Connemara (Saveur), Brown Bread is the Spine of Ireland (TASTE), Getting in the Water with Sharks (AFAR)

A few favorites from the middle of 2017:

The Oyster Poachers of Connemara (Saveur) Like many stories in Ireland, this one begins in a bar. It was after closing time one quiet night during the mid 1960s in Connemara, and in the corner of the pub, a group of lads talked in low voices while nursing their pints. The publican went about his business, wiping up the bar top and rearranging stools. Soon, the men had empty glasses, but made no moves towards leaving. They were waiting for something. When the headlights of a pick-up truck shone through the window, they scattered out into the night.

Brown Bread is the Spine of Ireland (TASTE) I’ve spent the last 10 years getting to know brown bread intimately. What began as a breakfast obsession—crumbly slice topped with smoked salmon and a squeeze of lemon—evolved into a lunch essential (tucked alongside a crock of seafood chowder). Without this unfussy staple spread with soft butter, my Irish kitchen would be incomplete.

Why You Don’t Need to Overcome Every Travel Fear (AFAR) When we travel, we encounter moments that push us to the edge of our comfort zone. Sometimes this disorientation is thrilling, while other times it can flirt with the frightening. I am not claustrophobic or afraid of heights. I’m not bothered by germs or clowns or wasps. But my one true fear is sharks. I am not a person who gets excited about shark week on the Discovery Channel. I’ve never even seen Jaws.