newyorksubalien has evolved. New city, new life, new blog

newyorksubalien has evolved. New city, new life, new blog.

Yes, I’m still socially-insecure and still deemed too primitive a life form for a bank account. I still can’t say ‘water’ correctly and voice-recognition software still doesn’t understand my number 8.

Meanwhile Superalien is still as super (at least in my eyes), Male Mini-Me is taller than all of us and Mini-Mum has returned to the home of the Mini, only popping back from London to sleep, be fed and help balance out testosterone levels.

But in my new home of Chicago, I can at least lay claim to my own subgroup. I’m now Chi-rish as in Chicago Irish. Apparently the hyphen is important so as not to be confused with Chinese Irish or the town in Armenia. But I’m trusting my readers not to be churlish and to forgive these, my (hyphen-less) Chirish chatters…..

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Chirish guide to being Irish

As the great day approaches, the many suggestions on offer as to how to celebrate the wearing of the green never cease to amaze me, mainly because many of them are about as Irish as Barack O’Bama. So here are a few guidelines to show your green credentials are more emerald than limey.

Don’t eat corned beef and cabbage

A favourite beef of mine (sorry). This most un-Irish of dishes came to my attention in our first year living in the Big Apple and I assumed it was simply because corned beef was readily available as a stalwart in Jewish cuisine. However the Big Onion, in all its Chirish-ness, is no different which got me wondering.

A few google searches later and I discover the most traditionally Irish thing about corned beef was the beef itself. Back in the 17th to 19th centuries, it was a big industry in Ireland, either traded via the Atlantic or used by the British armed forces. But, as you can probably guess, Irish people themselves couldn’t afford it - until they emigrated to America, that is. So it really is an O'Bama-style traditional Irish dish.

The true culinary companion to cabbage (and not to found in Jewish cuisine)  has to be ham, either boiled or baked. But then we're back to the old American bacon versus Irish bacon dilemma. Except we've solved that one by getting Male Mini-Me a DIY curing kit for Christmas so now there are two males bringing home the bacon in this household.

And then there’s lamb. You really can’t get more Irish than Irish stew but trying to track down some reasonably-priced lamb is like trying to catch a haggis on a Scottish mountain (you know, the creatures with one set of legs shorter than the other so it can run quickly around the hillsides).

If that seems like a tall story to you, I’m seriously beginning to wonder if all the sheep here only comprise of legs as a) that’s all I seem to be able to buy in the shops and b) it would account for why it costs an arm and a leg to buy them.

Don’t imagine it’s always been a big parade day in the Emerald Isle

The first St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin was only held in 1931. Given the man himself died on March 17, 461, it has taken a while for the whole green-shamrock-beads-in-the-shops thing to catch on.

In my wee corner of Ireland (where the great man is actually thought to be buried), it took us even longer to jump on the parade bandwagon, with our first parade in Belfast only taking place In 1998. Support at that time was, shall we say, mixed, despite it trying to be very much a cross-community event - which in Norn Iron usually just means one or other of the two communities is cross.

Today, I am proud to say, the Belfast “carnival parade” is very much cross-community, with this year’s line-up including a "Manchester-born winner of the UK X-Factor", the Tir na N’Og Irish dancers and the South Asian Dance Academy

Don’t wear green but blue instead

Only kidding on that one although apparently St Patrick was originally associated with the colour blue.  Even today, St Patrick’s blue is a sky blue used by the Order of St Patrick in the UK or a dark blue in Ireland as seen in the Irish Presidential Standard

Don’t expect to be served a drink in a pub on St Patrick’s Day

Again, only kidding although in Ireland, it was true for over 30 years last century. That was because the very nice man who made St Patrick’s Day a national holiday in 1903 also instigated a law closing pubs for the day in 1927 for fear of excessive alcohol consumption on a religious holiday. The law was repealed in 1961 but during that time, the only place to drink legally in Dublin was the Royal Dublin Society Dog show. Surprisingly attendance shot up. No doubt they all needed the hair of the dog come March 18.

Don’t go on the go unless you want to be fined up to $1,000

And here I’m not joking! We all know that what goes in has to come out sometime and there is a fair amount of imbibing of many dubious liquids on March 17. In order to avoid dubious liquids of another sort, Chicago’s City Council last April doubled the maximum fines for both drinking and tinkling in public to $1,000.

Given this will be the first St Patrick's Day under the new ruling, it brings a whole new meaning to the traditional pot of gold!