This week, the topic is: Irish cuisine. I realize that term sounds somewhat oxymoronic. If you do a Google search for the phrase “Irish cuisine,” it mostly comes up with joke websites, all of which include this classic: “What is an Irish 7-course meal? A potato and a six-pack.”
So, the Irish people are not renowned for their food, but we make up for that by having the world’s greatest poets, story-tellers, and corrupt politicians. (Yeah, I know that last phrase is redundant.)
Our topic today is not so much “Irish cuisine,” but more like “the Irish and cuisine.” And our guest expert on this subject is none other than me.
First, a little background. As someone who has 100% Irish lineage, this means my gastrointestinal system has been developed by thousands of years of natural selection. For countless generations, my ancestors consumed only three things: potatoes, an occasional piece of boiled beef with no seasoning, and beer. As a result, if I eat anything spicy, such as a cinnamon flavored Tic Tac, my stomach lets me know it in no uncertain terms.
A few weeks ago, we were invited by our neighbors to a birthday party for their young daughter. It was a lovely party, with plenty of food and drink. Oh, did I mention our neighbors are originally from India? Well, the food and drink were great, and one especially tasty dish had pieces of chicken covered in a reddish orange sauce. I took a few bites and said, “Wow, that’s great.” Then a few moments later my hair started tingling and my scalp began to sweat. Or possibly my scalp started to tingle and my hair began to sweat.
I replied, as small wisps of flame came out of my mouth, “Yeah, but it tastes great!”
Just then, I received an urgent text message from my esophogus and stomach. “Sorry to bother you, sir,” it read, “but all of our sensors are in alarm! Do you know what’s going on out there?!”
“Relax,” I replied. “It’s just a little spicy chicken.”
“Oh, but sir,” another urgent message began, “do you recall that Mexican restaurant a couple of years ago? Don’t you remember how you felt for the next day or two or twelve? Please, sir, we oughtn’t go through another fortnight like THAT again!”
Next, I received a text from my intestines. “Sir, we’ve heard a nasty rumor that spicy Indian food is advancing on our position. Please advise.”
When I confirmed the reports, well, let’s just say the reply from my intestines was a little too “spicy” to print in a family newspaper.
Traditional Irish cuisine may not be very interesting. But whenever we “sons of Erin” eat spicy food from another culture, it causes some discomfort, yes, but it does make for some lively story-telling.