Thursday, March 19, 2009

Irish Food

Let's be serious, people, St. Patrick's Day is pretty horrendous. I had sort of forgotten how bad it really is since I have spent almost all of my Paddy's Days either at home or in Ireland--where at least the drunken idiots are Irish.

The reason I usually go home is because my father's birthday is the day before St. Patrick's. His birthday occurs on this day because my grandmother drove to the hospital and demanded induced labor on March 16th because she was afraid that if she had her child on March 17th she would be forced by the Pope or Michael Collins or someone to name her child Patrick. Apparently, she hates the name Patrick. Enough to have induced labor. Yes, everyone in my family is crazy.

Anyway! So I had the utter joy this year of spending Paddy's Day in New York. Luckily, for most of the day I was hidden away in my office with no window. However, around seven o'clock a friend of mine and I decided to see if we could somehow defy logic and have a few drinks in a moderately crowded bar to celebrate her not having to go to Jury Duty that day. Long story short, everywhere was awful and crowded with Irish Americans celebrating whatever scrap of their DNA is Irish and wearing weird hats and left over Mardi Gras beads. We did find a place that was I guess vaguely Irish and had a table or two open, and I sat down to have two (bad, watery) Guinnesses and (here's where we get to the food part) a tuna wrap (also bad).

A Tuna Wrap?! On Paddy's Day? Yes. The truth is, and I know this is a shocker: Irish food is bad. Irish food is bad in America, and even worse in Ireland (well, except for full Irish Breakfast--delicious). And some of the stuff isn't even Irish:

Exhibit One and Only that I can think of off the top of my head: Every year, at some point, I get a lecture from my dad about how corned beef isn't Irish, and as far as I know he's right: the only place I know of that they serve it in Ireland is in Temple Bar in Dublin (tourist trap hell) and probably in some terrible place next to the Blarney Stone. Corned beef is, at best, Irish American. As in, when the Irish came to America, lived in slums and didn't have fridges, they ate corned beef because it was cheap. Newsflash, most people have electricity now. We don't have to eat that kind of thing anymore.

From my experience, on Paddy's Day, the tradition Irish meal is either fried chicken or lamb shawarma, or bad pizza, or nothing (Guinness is pretty filling...and it reminds us of how our ancestors starved in the famine--zing!)

Now, if you want to be genteel about it, Ireland really does have some wonderful food (see Anthony Bourdain's Ireland episode) and to celebrate you could have a salmon fillet, or a rack of lamb (lamb tastes way better in Ireland, btw. If you think you don't like it...try a grass-fed guy) as my grandmother recommends. Along with the traditional Manhattan cocktail taken directly after church. It is a religious holiday, you know.

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