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Ah Sure, Look

Since my trip to Ireland in January and because my dad’s house there will soon be sold, I have been feeling very Irishy. For example, I have been speaking Irish under my breath and cracking myself up. The Irish language is phonetically designed to make you sound like a guest on Monty Python. In case you need to talk to any native Irish speakers about your cleaning activities soon, you should know that the Irish for sponge is phonetically spoonsha. Dustpan is sloo-sajeen. Vacuum cleaner fall-oos-glan-toir. I could go on.

The other way I’m getting my Irish on is to follow irish_daily on Instagram. Here I learn things I’ve known since I was born but never actually thought about. Like how the Irish shut down annoying people with the simple phrase ah sure, look. This has to be spoken vaguely with a sort of vacant expression. I’ve been using it all week and nobody has been even remotely annoying in my presence.

Okay one person was annoying. The son of a patient yelled at me and another nurse in a very abusive manner despite the fact that we had showed up to help his mom. He threatened to set his dogs on us. I was a bit too rattled to think of Irish brush-offs. Then there was that sister duo who spent my entire visit each trying to convince me what an awful person the other was. Also one more annoying thing: the IRS. I tried saying ah sure, look to them when they sent me another letter about my alleged 2021 taxes underpayment. Maybe I wasn’t vague enough? Plus I sort of yelled it.

This was a great week for cooking though. For once, my dinner method paid off. My method is simple and you should feel free to use it if you like. When I notice it is very close to dinner time, I run to the fridge and see what’s there and then I google recipes with those food items in them. This week it was onions, spinach, buttermilk. I never buy buttermilk but last week I also had excess spinach and I found a recipe for a spinachy bread that called for buttermilk. But like all recipes that call for some unusual ingredient, it only called for a tiny amount of it, so I was left with three-quarters of a bottle of buttermilk. Can an already sour lumpy milk go bad?

I didn’t want to find out. I’m trying not to waste food and have it go in the landfill and be a worse climate warrior than I already am. Turns out, you can make a really tasty chicken dish with onions, spinach and buttermilk. Buttermilk roast chicken. It doesn’t actually call for spinach, but I put some in anyway. This is another feature of my cooking method.  I also noticed while reading through eleven screens of information to try and get to the recipe that the Irish pagan ceremony around Imbolc (start of Spring) involved serving buttermilk. Ah sure would you look at that!

(This is a slightly longer phrase than ah sure, look that the Irish use to denote mild interest rather than a desire to be somewhere else.)

It’s my birthday Thursday. I’m cooking dinner for some friends and I’m going to make the buttermilk chicken dish. Also colcannan, an ancient Irish recipe that calls for potatoes and cabbage. Because you know, Imbolc just happened, St. Patrick’s Day is nearly upon us, and also I have sprouting potatoes in my fridge. I’ve no cabbage but that shouldn’t pose a problem because I have spinach.

One challenge to cooking dinner for six when you live in a very small cabin is that you live in a very small cabin. To fit six people around the kitchen table, you have to move most of your living room furniture somewhere else. That would be the bedroom. But I did a dry run yesterday and I made it work without even having to move the couch. Everyone will fit around our circular table, which is the best way to sit dinner guests because then everyone is able to see everyone else. Also, if you are seated beside a boring person at a round table, you don’t have to overuse ah sure, look or try to speak behind their backs to the person beyond them. Instead, you can just swivel your head about and talk to a more interesting person somewhere around the table.

Of course there won’t be any boring people at my birthday dinner. I’ve been in the Hudson Valley for three and a half years now and I’ve made some great friends. I hope they like buttermilk. If not, I have Guinness chocolates for dessert. I found them in Tops yesterday in the vast St. Patrick’s Day section that also featured seven thousand cans of Guinness plus  many Guinness-themed food items. The chocolates are in the shape of tiny pints. Get away out of that now! (Irish phrase denoting amazement.)

This will be my second birthday without my dad. Going on without him. If he were to be dining with us at my circular birthday table I can think of several of the jokes he would tell my guests. I would have heard all of these jokes before, but I would still find them funny because he was telling them. He would also find out things about my friends that I did not yet know, because he was interested in everyone. And he would really enjoy the tiny chocolate pints.

I hate that I’m talking about my dad in the past tense. But one day people will be speaking about me in the past tense, if they are speaking about me at all. I hope that they’ll be saying things like I’m still using her fabulous dinner method! Why, only the other day I made a dinner composed entirely of mustard, ketchup and moldy cabbage! and not ah sure, look.

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