Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Happy Irish Stereotype Day . . .
Depending on who you ask, I am somewhere between 50 and 87.3% Irish. I am 25% Italian (paternal grandfather, the "Amore" part) and very proud of that but I am more proud of the Irish-ness that lives inside me (thanks, Grandma Ramona Gleason and Grandpa John Coyle and the Irish part of Grandma Coyle too).
I've never really "understood" St. Patrick's Day though. My mother used to love the holiday (still does, judging by the 20 pound box she and my father sent Ava the other day) and she would go NUTS with stuff for the day. NONE of which was really "Irish" at all. We'd have green, shamrock shaped pancakes for breakfast. We'd have green Knox Blox (Jell-O Jigglers, for those that are newer to the format) cut as shamrocks in our lunches. We'd have lamb cake (the most delicious of allllll the cakes) for dessert that night. We'd have green, green, green with no real nod to the actual culture or heritage of our "people". We weren't totally nuts. We did not, for the record, eat Corned Beef for dinner - THANK GOD! - for instance.
I was typing with my friend Melissa the other day and I realized that St. Patrick's Day, like many holidays, was always sort of "about" eating and food and food associations.
I remember many a St. Patrick's Day in DC with us going bar hopping (never to the big, popular Irish bars like Fado and Four Courts and Biddy Mulligans but to places like the cigar bar across the street from my office or Mexican places like Cactus Cantina). I remember my first St. Patrick's Day at IBM. I was driving back to Maryland and I stopped at some road stop in New Jersey and got about 4,000 calories of Cinnabon, Roy Rogers and Snickers bars.
I also remember, vividly, the St. Patrick's Day lunch we had two years ago (during my last days as a "real eater" before my surgery). We walked to a pizzeria in Bethel (How else would you celebrate St. Patrick's Day? NOT with pasta and pizza?) and got Ava a huge bowl of pasta (she was in a pasta phase at the time) and Joy got a hoagie (or grinder or whatever the heck they call them in Connecticut) and I got a grilled chicken breast. I remember being so proud of myself for showing restraint. Feeling smug that if I can just have chicken breast "today" - I can go the rest of my life without eating foods that might compromise my surgery and long term weight loss success.
I felt lucky to have a wife and a daughter and a mother-in-law who was going to fly in to help take care of all of us during my surgery and parents that, while anxious to join us, were respectful enough to not bring the craziness of three parents and a surgery patient in to our small house. I was lucky to have my surgery scheduled and I was lucky to have survived to the date of my surgery.
Last year though . . . we . . . uh . . . we . . . I don't know what we did (I went to the doctor, according to the blog archive). Why don't I remember? It was NOT about food or beverages. I broke the association. I didn't make a holiday or special occasion "about" food and it was clearly less than memorable accordingly.
I feel lucky about that this morning too!
NOTE - NO. I did not eat any Lucky Charms. This is just a picture that Imp took of me for a client project where I play a fictional person who's obsessed with sugary snacks and bow ties (oh irony of ironies). Imp has, however, been working her way through every marshmallow in the box of cereal though.