Operation Transformation changed how I eat, says Mary Byrne

The singer shares her most treasured food memory: chips with rice and curry sauce

Mary Byrne: ‘I used to stick with chips when I was abroad. Now I will try everything.’

Mary Byrne: ‘I used to stick with chips when I was abroad. Now I will try everything.’

 

Throughout Food Month people will share with us their most treasured food memory. You can share yours at magazine@irishtimes.com

November is Food Month in The Irish Times. You will find food-related content in all of our sections, plus reader events, competitions and lots of exclusive content at irishtimes.com/food
November is Food Month in The Irish Times. You will find food-related content in all of our sections, plus reader events, competitions and lots of exclusive content at irishtimes.com/food

Doing Operation Transformation literally sent my senses into a completely new world of food. I had never eaten smoked salmon on brown bread before. It was just not appetising and my eyes told me not to eat it. Now I can’t get enough of it.

Garlic was the same. I never cooked with it before, now I put it in everything. Spices too. It was like an explosion of different tastes in my mouth and it moved me away from traditional foods to a new way of eating. I used to stick with chips when I was abroad. Now I will try everything.

Smoked salmon really shocked me. I used to watch people eating it, and think - they are eating raw fish! But it’s not raw, it’s smoked. And it’s beautiful. It was a huge eye opener.

I have it on brown bread with some tomato and pepper and salt. Or I will wrap it around a section of Laughing Cow cheese, and put a bit of balsamic vinegar and olive oil on it.

Sometimes I take a handful of it and eat it like a packet of crisps.

It fills you and stops you nibbling. I have arthritis, and salmon has lots of fish oil, so it’s good for the joints and good for the brain.

Operation Transformation just changed my way of thinking about food, and now I will try all sorts of food. I tell people, don’t judge food by what it looks like, taste before you judge it. We use our eyes but we should use our tastebuds first.

When I go touring down the country I have learned to prepare before setting off, so I’ll take a bowl of salad or some smoked salmon and brown bread, and when everyone else runs into the Spar, I’ll have that.

I’ve always loved food like bacon and cabbage, which is not so bad for you if you cut the fat off after cooking. I love it.

I used to love chips, especially three-in-one: rice, chips and curry sauce. I’d often have chicken balls with it. I still have it the odd time but it used to be a staple. I’m not totally holy - I still have the odd takeaway, and biscuits, but the majority of the time I stick to healthy eating and I feel 10 times better.

Former X-Factor contestant Mary Byrne is in the Cheerios panto, Sleeping Beauty at the Tivoli Theatre, Dublin, from December 7th for six weeks. She plays a new character, Good Queen Mary, Sleeping Beauty’s mother “and they have me saying some mad things”.

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