Saturday, October 6, 2012

Irish Stuff

I've been in Ireland since my last post so I thought I get back in the swing with some Irish stuff.

There's too much of it! Every meal, until I started being really stern and all Ugly American-ish with the the servers, I'd leave my plate half-full and the Irish around me would look at me with a mixture of pity and contempt.

Root vegetables are remarkably present. I had rutabagas, turnips, parsnips, carrots and a couple of things I couldn't name though I knew they grew underground from their taste. And the potato thing is still a mystery to me. Mashed potatoes, boiled potatoes and fried potatoes all offerings at one meal and the Irish mostly took them all!

All the meats--ham, pork, beef, beef stroganoff , pork chops--were very good. A little weak on the two fish entrees I had--overcooked and bland. Well, to be honest, most of the food was more bland than I am used to eating. But healthy and good.

I had five desserts, none of which I recognized as something I had eaten before. But all pretty good--and believe me on this, the whipped cream (along with the butter) was far superior to what passes as whipped cream and butter in the US.

It might be the famines in the DNA but my Lord they eat a lot of food! Plus, here's how you eat in Ireland: you put the knife in your non-dominant hand and the fork in your dominant hand and never lay them down, using the knife to push food onto your fork. Elbows always at your side. There was a couple from Indiana who have been working in  Belfast for two years and I noticed they had taken up the eating style. "You get tired of hitting people with your elbows," they both told me. Dining tables seem smaller than here and I kept hitting people in the shoulders with my elbow while eating. I see how you would quickly adopt the Irish eating style.

Getting from JFK to Dublin was a snap compared to getting from Dublin Airport to Newry and then to the conference center--Dromantine. I knew where to catch the bus to Newry from previous trips. I landed and got through customs in record time to catch the 10:20 bus. But the bus was already filled from central Dublin, the only stop before the airport, so I had to wait for the 11:20 bus. That one had only limited seating and their were 30 of us by then, waiting to get to Newry or Belfast. The bus company was amazing. A representative had showed up shortly after the full 10:20 bus and promised us we'd all get on a bus. After the 11:20 bus pulled off he put the Newry people on a local that stopped three times before Newry and at the third place we  had to transfer to another bus for the last bit. Newry is an hour and a half from the airport and it took me nearly four hours to get there. Standing in Ireland's perpetual drizzle for that long meant I was water-logged in the taxi out to Dromantine.

(More Irish stuff later)

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.