Monday, March 17, 2008

Joyeux Jour de St.-Patrick!

Or however you say it.

While it's understandable that March 17th is huge in the US due to the great number of Irish immigrants, it could be said that the French should be even more into St. Patrick's Day, considering France and Ireland's common religion and their common Celtic roots.

And it looks like the forces of marketing have taken note of that, in an attempt to make St. Patty's - like Christmas, Valentine's Day, and Easter - an American-style bacchanal of consumption.

For the last week, there have been billboards everywhere. Most notably for "Paddy" brand Irish whisky. (In the US, it's marketed under the far more politically correct name, "Mick Juice.")

Bars have signs up advertising St. Patrick's specials. (Such as a tiny glass of Guinness only costing your half a week's salary.)

On Friday, the City of Paris even held its annual official St. Patrick's Day extravaganza at the Palais Omnisport de Bercy arena, celebrating their shared ancestry with literary recitals, dance, and the harmonious sounds of those Celtic musical legends... The Red Hot Chili Peppers. (No, really.)

Even my company cafeteria got into the spirit today, advertising a special "Menu Saint-Patrick."

Sadly, there was no Guinness beef stew. No corned beef & cabbage. There was, instead, "Irish lamb stew," which looked and smelled exactly like - you guessed it - last week's "Mexican lamb stew." Only I think they Irished it up with a flat can of Kronenbourg.

I'm sure it was up to snuff. After all, Irish culinary excellence isn't exactly recognized worldwide. In fact, after my first day in Dublin several years back, I rushed to an internet cafe to send my Irish boss a special message: "Your food sucks."


Either way, I played it safe and ordered the salmon. Which, considering most of the frozen Atlantic salmon here is from Ireland, was probably the more appropriate choice.

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