We went to brunch with our friends today at an Irish pub/sports bar. It was unnerving to be talking quietly among ourselves and then to suddenly have everyone else in the place jump to their feet, shouting and backslapping. It wasn’t as if you could prepare yourself for these outbursts because, football being football, anything can happen at any time.
That wasn’t the worst part of the experience, though. I ordered the “Irish Breakfast.” It sounded so ethnic and charming, and whenever I had read about this breakfast in novels, I vowed to order it sometime. I had hoped to be in Ireland when I did, but I was in Norwalk, CT, and it was offered, so I ordered it. Baked beans are included in the breakfast, and that sounded exotic, too, even though I had read that many people (mostly older people, I think) in Boston eat baked beans on toast for breakfast. I reasoned that they got the habit from their English-Irish ancestors, so it still qualified as being “foreign.”
I was pleased with my adventurous eating … until the dish arrived. What was delivered to me was plate of greasy sausage, shriveled ham, two over-easy eggs, cooked tomatoes, mushrooms, and a small bowl of lukewarm baked beans. There were also two slices of “pudding.” The pudding wasn’t what we consider pudding to be; it was sausage. I ordered the white pudding, because I knew the black pudding was composed mostly of blood. Even though the white pudding wasn’t made of blood, it had a tangy taste that made me think that it might have been made of another bodily fluid. One bite was enough.
“This is a plate of grease!” I said to my friend.
“It’s an Irish Breakfast,” she said, surprised at my surprise. “You do know that it’s called the ‘hangover breakfast,’ don’t you?”
“No!” I said. “I had no idea.”
“Yes,” she said. “Greasy food is good for people with hangovers.”
“I’m not hungover,” I said. “So, this is just disgusting.”
“Well, there aren’t many carbs,” she said. “That’s a benefit of the Irish Breakfast.”
Maybe there weren’t many carbs in the meal, but I’d need to eat a loaf of bread to sop up the grease, which would negate any benefits of this awful meal.
One thing I learned today was to stop romanticizing foreign food. If I ever get to England, I will not order “Bubble and Squeak” or “Toad in the Hole,” until I see what those dishes are composed of.
Photo credit: ID 17585745 © Jörg Beuge | Dreamstime.com