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  • ” My Irish Family ” – The Irish Senator

    I grew up in a large Irish Catholic family of six boys, which ate, as one friend declared, like lions on the

    Serengeti. Our family doctor, Dr. Sweeney, once said “ Keep your fingers and hands away from them

    when they go to work”. The only sound that could be heard was the din of the knives and forks coming

    together in frenzied brilliance—we were eating savants.

    The Irish catholic families of my generation had two food groups, not exactly the pyramid you see in

    educational manuals, but a brick of meat and potatoes. Essentially, if it wasn’t for ketchup, we might

    have all gotten scurvy. Our family would sit down to meatloaves the size of Greek islands and piles of

    mashed potatoes resembling the Himalayan peaks. People would always marvel at our appetites, but

    one must look at the collective unconscious of the Irish, to understand where that comes from. When

    tyrants starve a people for hundreds of years, and allow a significant portion of the population to

    subside almost entirely on one tuber in a slave like existence, you begin to realize the origins of that

    trope. The wasting of food was the worst sin in our family. God forbid you took something you couldn’t

    finish, or worse, tried to throw out a portion of the meal….better to have been arrested than that.

    I remember the first day my sister in law came over for dinner with the family…can you say culture

    shock? She grew up in a very cerebral quiet family, which ate portions the size of fists and cordially

    discussed the day’s events. In our family, dinner was more a contact sport, like hurling or Irish football…

    a Darwinian struggle to get to the carcass. She was a very sweet woman who brought out the meatballs,

    all the size of baseballs, to the table. She then helped my saintly mother (yes saintly) bring out the rest of

    the food. My family, not accustomed to guests, dug in with their usual fervor without considering there

    was one more mouth to feed. When my saintly (yes saintly) sister in law finally sat down there was no

    food to be taken. The Irish had done it again, stole the last supper behind her back and from beneath

    her very nose. Well, she did what every other civilized person would do, she began to cry. My brothers

    realizing the error of their ways, reacted by scraping their meatballs and spaghetti onto to her plate.

    Now, she had a pile on her plate that could feed most small villages; the absurdity of the situation finally

    produced laughter all around. She grew to love our family’s passion, for not only food, but life. The

    house was always alive with banter and celebration, it was a glorious spectacle, and she, obviously

    came back again and again.

    -The Irish Senator

    One Response to “” My Irish Family ” – The Irish Senator”

    1. Dolly Huffnagle | October 10, 2016 at 11:59 pm #

      Love these stories!!

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