How I lived with an Irish family for a week and they survived – Part 1

no-peanut-butter-sandwich

I met my friend Soibhán in Dublin nearly two years ago.  We were both in the audience at the filming of an Irish RTE TV music special.  You wouldn’t even believe the story of how I ended up there.  It’s crazy even for AGMA.  Let’s just say I was with my then 79-year-old going on teeny bopper MIL who had stars in her eyes.  ‘Nuff said…

Soibhán isn’t her real name.  I’m protecting the innocent.  And I love the name Soibhán. It doesn’t sound anything like it looks in “Ahmurican speak” and it has one of those charming fada marks in it.  I love those.

We became fast friends through Facebook.  Okay – so I guess FB is good for something other than expressing idiotic, ill-informed political opinions that nobody give’s a rat’s ass about.  Oh – did I say that out loud?

Soibhán & I got together again when I was in Ireland last October and shared a couple of pints of Guinness one evening in Killarney.  Well, I drank the Guinness, she drank tea.

Yes…I managed to make friends with one of the 29 people in Ireland who don’t drink alcohol.  I had no idea there were so many.

So one thing lead to another and I found myself headed to County Waterford a little over two weeks ago to stay with her and her family for six days.

A couple of days into the visit, Soibhán asked me if I or my husband had any misgivings about me staying with them since they were basically strangers.  I laughed.  The real question should have been if she had any misgivings letting AGMA staying with her. She should have…

After reading my blog, wouldn’t you?

I learned a lot about the Irish way of life and some of the funny differences between us. Like they are just plain weird about some stuff…  And I’m perfectly normal.  Right.

So in no particular order (although the first five do seem to have jelly/jam theme happening…)

  1. If you’re having eggs and toast for breakfast, you can put butter on your toast. And orange marmalade.  But not jelly.  But call it jam because jelly = Jello in Ireland.  They think you’re crazy if you put jam on your toast.  They get funny looks on their faces if you take a bite of egg and then a bite of your jammy toast. Like they’re going to get sick
  2. It’s okay to have jam on a scone you’re eating in parallel with your eggs.  But they’ll also expect you to eat toast with butter with your eggs.  Scones evidently aren’t counted as a carb.  And a jammy scone must not be eaten with eggs.  It’s as if they believe that jam and eggs are a volatile combination in the gut that could possibly trigger a chain of dire events in your body leading to an early death or worse.  Like eating to much pork and beans.
  3. Soibhán’s six-year-old son asked for jelly and ice cream.  I thought that was a very odd combination until she explained to me that they refer to Jello as jelly. Ummm…  Jello and ice cream.  That sounds much better.  Not.
  4. I got the “I think I’m going to get sick” look again when I explained that a staple of almost every American child’s diet was the classic peanut butter and jelly (NOT Jello) sandwich.  What??  My jaw dropped in disbelief trying to comprehend a childhood without PBJ’s.  Clearly there are very, very strict rules about the use of jam in Ireland.
  5. They don’t eat chicken noodle soup.  Or chicken & rice soup.  Oh the humanity!  I was going to mention a that a PBJ and a bowl of chicken noodle soup is one of the ultimate comfort meals in the US, but I honestly wasn’t sure I’d be welcome in their home any longer if I did.  That might have put them over the edge.

To be continued…

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18 thoughts on “How I lived with an Irish family for a week and they survived – Part 1

  1. Lol. Jelly yes, Jell-o NO! Uck in any way, shape or form! This gal does not do food dies like that! ICK! Apple jelly or Apple butter! HEAVEN in the mouth! All I need for peanut butter is a spoon! No bread, no jam/jelly/jell-o! Can’t wait to read the next installment 🙂

    Anything I write within these forums is EXPRESSLY my property. If you wish to copy or use it else where you MUST have my EXPRESS permission to do so.

    “God gives us relatives; thank God, we can choose our friends.” Addison Mizner Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.~ Thich Nhat Hanh

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    ““If you can make a girl laugh, you can make her do anything.”” – Marilyn Monroe

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    • Not really sure what my friend pops into her kid’s lunch boxes… They were on Spring Break when I was there. That would be a good question to ask. It’s probably something really healthy! Even their “unhealthy” stuff is healthy because of the strict food laws there. No GMO’s or high fructose corn syrup or antibiotics in their beef. I might over-eat when I’m there, but darn it – it’s as healthy as over-eating can get! Ha!

      Part 2 in a few days!

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    • Clearly! One of my favorite sayings is “Every day’s a school day” because it seems I’m always picking up new tidbits of knowledge. That’s one of the things I LOVE about travel – it works my little gray cells!

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  2. Funny how we Americans think we have the correct answers to everything – even about eating. I think it is a good idea to get to know the people of countries you visit – it gives you a whole different perspective and appreciation.

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    • It sure does! I always feel a bit sad for people to travel to other countries who bus with their tour group and eat with their tour group and drink with their tour group and socialize with their tour group. I’ve made some wonderful friends on tours, but I also like to strike out on my own to meet the people who live there.

      And trust me – I don’t have the correct answer to much… The older you get the more you realize (or you should if you have a wit about you) that you don’t know nearly as much as you thought you knew! Love this quote:

      “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”
      ― Bertrand Russell

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  3. That IS the best Irish name! I just love saying it out loud, well in my head. So, what kinds of soups do they eat, other than the iconic Irish stew? Not too many tinned ones, I bet. Notice I said “tinned”, and not canned. I read. 🙂

    I love, love, love that quote from Russell. It goes along with this one: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.” Often attributed to Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln, but neither can be substantiated. http://quoteinvestigator.com/2010/05/17/remain-silent/

    Can’t wait for Part Deux!

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    • No – I don’t think Soibhán does ANY tinned soups! And like most Europeans, she produces fabulous food from a tiny kitchen, with a tiny stove, oven and fridge not equipped with the latest Food Network gadgets! Puts me to shame… She talked about making vegetable soup in the winter. But it’s not like our vegetable soup – it’s all pureed veggies and is thick and lovely! Not a mention of Irish stew… Which they probably just call stew! Ha!

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  4. All sounds perfectly reasonable to me 😉

    Did your host explain that jelly and ice cream is the foundation dish to most children’s parties? Or cocktail sticks pierced with a chunk of cheese and pineapple?

    Glad you had a fun time!

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  5. You can also tell them that chicken soup is also recommended by doctors (my sister is one) when you have a cold and need good nutritious, soothing food. Otherwise what do they have when they have colds, sniffles?

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    • I haven’t a clue Jean… And there is actually scientific evidence that the “stuff” in chicken soup does help your body fight cold germs. I think. But I have that that I have 61 years of anecdotal evidence of the physical, emotional and spiritual benefits of CNS! It does a body good!

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    • I’d love to lbeth! Maybe I should start my own travel company – AGMA World Excursions! Has a ring to it doesn’t it? But of course, despite the name. I would only go to Ireland. That could possibly limit my clientele… 😉

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