Cranberries? We should celebrate cranberries? I think not. And what is a blueberry only a commercialised bilberry. We had them already in Ireland.
Then there is Maize, the runt of the grain family. Maize was responsible for widespread pellagra due to niacin defficiency. How did native americans ever figure out that soaking the grain in lye released niacin? So Italians rave about polenta, big deal. You won’t find it in Ireland.
I will say that fresh maize is pretty good, no barbeque is complete without sweet corn on the cob. And then I guess there is popcorn, which goes perfectly with that other American invention, the cinema.
The potato, that came from America. And here in Ireland it was responsible for the death of a million and the emigration of 2 million Irish as a result of the potato famine. OK, Irish cuisine basically doesn’t exist without the humble spud. Boil them, crush them, mash them, cream them, roast them, sauté, fried, deep fried, dauphin, au gratin, croquette, duchesse, baked, deep fried skins, stuffed, layered, potato cake, potato bread, garfield, rosti, I could go on.
Then America gave us the turkey, which basically means that Americans invented Christmas. We don’t do thanksgiving, but Christmas just isn’t Christmas without turkey, and cranberry sauce. OK, so there is a use for cranberries, once a year.
Tomatoes. They come from America. What would we have without them? No ketchup, no puree, no passata, so there go half of all the pasta sauces. And Pizza is not Pizza absent the tomato. Provencale sauce, practically every other salad, burgers without tomato and ketchup? Hot dogs? OK, so we need tomatoes.
Then there is Chili, that came from america too. Chili, not Chile, which is in America. This insidious spice has effectively invaded every cuisine from Portugal to China. Somehow it bypassed Ireland until the 1970’s, and there are still chili free areas in the deep rural areas of the country.
Chocolate, oh yeah, that’s American. Chocolate bars, chocolate cakes, boxes of chocolate, chocolate pudding, hot chocolate, death by chocolate, mmmmmm.
So there are really some pretty cool things that we got from America. Oh, and another is the handgun. Invented in America by Elisha Collier in 1814 and developed by Samuel Colt in 1836 and onwards. Today I read how a kid on a schoolbus in Florida produced a pistol and shot a 13 year old girl, Lourdes Guzman. That is one thing from America that I don’t want in Ireland. Handguns and kids don’t mix!