Diner Prompt 2015 Essay

Submitted By acolbeck
Words: 829
Pages: 4

1. Historical fiction option: write a narrative of coming to America after suffering through a period of hunger/famine.

Memories of Food in Ireland I remember years ago when I still lived in Ireland. Things were very different back then. Food and meals were seen very differently and were not the focal point of social or family gathering like it is here for Americans. Since we have been in America, many things have changed for my family and I. Before we left for America, I would often watch my mother prepare meals for the family. My mother’s meals did not vary in preparation or ingredients, but no one seemed to mind. She primarily made boiled potatoes and homemade bread sometimes accompanied by salt fish or bacon. She would often boil the potatoes in a large vat until their jackets would burst and transfer them to a sciathoga to drain. Her left thumb nail was grown out so that she could use it to peel the potatoes skins with ease. When we needed the extra energy, my mother would only boil the potatoes for a shorter time so that they were crunchier. This way we would receive more energy from it. The other benefit of boiling for a shorter time would be that they would stick to our ribs better so that we could fast for a longer periods of time. I also remember my father enjoyed going to the shebeen in town. This small house was popular place for the men of the area to gather. After several drinks the men would sing and write, primarily about the alcohol that put them in such a good mood. If my father spent too much at the shebeen, my mother would make poitin from our grain to sell so that she could buy food to feed us. We never ate for celebrations like we do in America. In fact many days of the year we would go without eating certain items. These items were mostly meat and dairy products. We also fasted on many holy occasions as well. When I was still young, many of the potatoes started getting infested with disease. This affected everyone I knew because potatoes were a staple in every Irish meal. People became hungry and my family could no longer help our friends and family that struggled with hunger. The old cottiers who lived in our village were the first people to die from hunger. People started calling this time the “Great Hunger”. During this time, many people blamed the Protestants and the English. They would talk about big wagons filled with food going to the ports to be shipped to England while the hard working Irish Catholics stood around hungry. Many people also talked about opportunity elsewhere like America. When my father could no longer feed us we knew it was time to leave. We boarded a ship to New York packed with other Irish people, many of whom were Protestants. We couldn’t wait to get to the other side of the Atlantic to see what America had to offer. When we got here, my father found work in a factory. It took him a while to find a factory that would hire him because many of the American…