Irish Foods

Hasia Diner surprised me by forcing me to remember that Irish identity in the United States does not center on food. Of all the “stuff” I think of when I think of the Irish (this amazing song and Guinness and the stunning The Secret of Kells) none of it is cuisine. I am tempted to buy her explanation for that, too – potatoes were imposed by the English and symbolically linked to suffering, and didn’t require/inspire technological innovation, so cooking was not communal nor a focus of family life.

One counterexample is a strange deli on South Street at 8th Street, offering up a confusing combination of products, among them hookahs and “Irish foods.”

When I was out jogging this afternoon, I went into the store to get a better look at the foods on sale.

For a deli with limited shelf space, this one stocks quite a few varieties of beans, including some from a company called “Batchelors,” aka “Ireland’s leading brand in canned Baked Beans, Peas and Pulses.” Okay.

 

Also available? Chipsticks and Hula Hoops. Chipsticks are manufactured by Tayto (“The Tayto name is synonymous with crisps and is regularly used as a generic term for crisps in Ireland.”) And Hula Hoops (actual motto on actual website “little hoops of satisfying fun. Made for fingers… and mouths”) have been around since 1973 and may cause cancer.

Did I mention you can also buy a hookah here?

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