Ah St. Paddy's Day. A day when everyone is a bit Irish and tuck into a taste of the Emerald Isle.
Well, no, not really. No sane, sober person would, but let me explain a little about why i tend to enjoy Pasta or Thai instead of Corned Beef and Cabbage.
First off, let me introduce you to my Grandfather. That's him, tending the bar that he ran for a few years in Brooklyn. Sadly, the pub he ran closed, partly due to his tendency to be more generous than business savvy, but that did have one interesting side-note.
Far more often than my Grandmother appreciated, he'd come home with someone he'd met while at the pub. His arms would be filled with unusual ingredients and he'd usher his wife from the kitchen and away from the shortbreads and creamed tripe stew, and soon the apartment was filled with exotic scents and tastes from strange and wondrous lands, like Germany or Italy. My sainted Grandmother generally hated whenever he did this, but my Mom and her siblings didn't.
Irish cooking tends to "use everything but the grunt", and they pretty much mean it. Traditional Irish country food tends to use a, frankly, terrifying amount of pork, cabbage and potatoes, most of it boiled in pots above peat fires. One need remember that it was the loss of the Potato that pretty much devastated the country and lead to massive starvation. This was not a country with a wide and varied diet. Special occasions might include a bit of roasted lamb, but that tended to (literally) eat into the export business.
This might also explain why folks drank, but only a wee bit.
Mind you, modern Irish cuisine is a helluva lot better now and has even included things like fish and beef. i'll also note that Irish have taken to, ahem, "embracing the foods of other cultures" with a surprising enthusiasm to those not familiar with traditional fare.
So, aye, i'll not be partaking of the bacon knot and cabbage this year (or the next), and i prefer my corned beef peppered and sliced thin from the deli counter. i'm not exactly sure how many shepherds kept meat grinders in the dairy, either.
Still, raise a glass and a toast. To my ancestors from Roscommon, Tabhair dom ar ais ar mo dhia damanta caorach, bastaird tú!