I’m Insulted, And I’m Not Even IrishPosted: January 22, 2015
I enjoy cooking. I’ve done a lot more of it recently; my retirement gave me the time I needed to expand the sorts of dishes that I’ll take on. Taking on new dishes requires a lot of trips to the supermarket for ingredients.
My love for food and cooking gave me the chance to see something so odd that I was able to expand my ability to be offended. Yes, I was offended on behalf of a nation and an ethnic group that I am not affiliated with in any way.
Irish folks, on behalf of the rest of us, I’m sorry for what I’m about to show you.
We’re A Little Too Easily Insulted
Let me start by saying that I think people are a little too thin-skinned these days. Not enough rolls off our backs. People who desperately want the world to know how small-minded they are accomplish that by saying offensive things. And, while we’re correct to be frustrated by tiny minds, sometimes our protests give them far too much attention.
A few days ago, a trip to the grocery was in order for me. Green chili salsa was in the recipe for the night; it wasn’t in the pantry. I roamed the store, grabbing other things on my list until the salsa was all that remained on my paper.
The “ethnic food” aisle in this particular store, one that I don’t often get to, was pretty standard. At the end where I entered the aisle were the Latin products and the salsa I needed. Looking down the aisle, I saw oval signs labeling the sections containing the other usual categories of food you’d find in this particular aisle in any other supermarket in the U.S. – Italian, Asian, Kosher. And there was another label, one I hadn’t seen in a food store before: Irish.
Maybe I Was Hasty With All That “Too Easily Insulted” Stuff
I walked down the aisle, curious about what sort of imported foods were under the Irish food sign. I don’t know what I expected to see, but thought maybe there’d be something exotic that I could try in the future. What I didn’t expect to see is this:
Yes, the Irish food section of this market is potatoes. Box after box of instant potatoes. Each shelf, top to bottom, left to right – potatoes.
No soda bread.
Not one can of marrowfat peas.
Just instant potatoes.
Now, I get that there’s a stereotype that the Irish eat a lot of potatoes. But I’m pretty sure that they sometimes eat dishes which don’t contain any potato at all.
So what was the idea behind this “Irish Food Section”? Is it a joke? Did the shop management not know any better? I wonder what stopped them from just putting up a sign with two drunk, fighting leprechauns on it to help Irish people find their instant potatoes.
Up around the start of this piece, I said some stuff about letting things roll off our backs and not being thin-skinned. I meant that. But I also mean this: I’m not Irish but, on behalf of those who are, I’m officially insulted.
PS – For those of you who are wondering, my chili was pretty good. It might have been more filling if I’d Irish’ed it up with some potatoes.