A few days ago, I posted a recipe for cupcakes, using Guinness, Irish whiskey, and Irish cream, based off the drink known as an "Irish Car Bomb". An Irish reader took offense to the name of the recipe (which I completely agree with) and suggested I rename them "9/11 Cupcakes".
This has me thinking.
First, I need to eat a bit of crow. I hate the ICB name, and in addition to simply not wishing to pollute either a Guinness or good whiskey (Middleton's anyone???) with something like Irish cream, I do find it offensive. I dont necessarily think making light of a situation that has divided and devastated a country and killed God only knows how many people is a great thing to do. (Apparently, a lot of folks agree). That being said, I didnt think when I posted the recipe, and I called by the American slur that the drink is called by). Because I prefaced by saying that I dont like the name/drink, I didnt think too much of it.
And that was wrong. And I'm sorry to anyone that was offended. Not just because it is offended, but because I should have known better.
Walking by our local pub and seeing that, in honor of St. Pat's, ICBs will be half price kind of curdles my stomach. How would I, as a Catholic feel, if I walked by the local Knights of Columbus hall, and saw a sign advertising that, in honor of the Assumption, a spiced up version of a bloody mary, which they decided to call a "Knocked Up Mary" was on sale?
How would my Jewish friends feel if we looked at a menu advertising a skinny version of a popular Israeli drink as an "Emaciated Jew", in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day?
Or what about waltzing into our lunch choice on Mother's Day and reading that, in honor of Mother's Day, the drink special of the day is the "Dead Baby Cocktail". I think I might leave. No, I know I would. And then I'd call and complain.
Would any of us like a "9/11 Sundae", or eat at an establishment celebrating MLKjr Day with something entitled the "Nigger Special" consisting of friend chicken and watermelon? No, of course we wouldnt. Because they are awful, offensive, and sickening names to describe something. Following the rule of "if I wouldnt feed it to the kids, maybe I shouldnt eat it", perhaps a better rule about language should be put in place. If I'd be pissed off if my kids said it, then it's not worth having a place in my vocab either.
As an Irish-American, I should know better. And, even though it was Irish-American sisters who sent me the recipe, that just goes to show that we are all fairly deadened to the offensiveness of something that we've only 'lived through' via the media... Because we've never had to pick up the body pieces left behind from one of those bombs or buried our children because they died of shrapnel wounds.
As I was talking about this with Peter last night, he made the statement of "Why not call it something else? Why name a drink that?" I dont know... You'd think, right?
So, from now on, this cake (which will be made on a regular basis because it is pretty darn delicious) will be called a "St. Patrick's Explosion" Cupcake or Cake. It's an "explosion of Irish goodness in every single bite", as we decided last night while licking our fingers of the whisky ganache. I'm about to make another one (a cake this time instead of cupcakes). And, while I do, I plan to repent of my previous title by saying a Rosary dedicated to the victims of the car bombs.
And truly, I am sorry.
When you walk by the pub and you see it... Or you overhear a bartender making it... Maybe one person stepping up and saying "Hey, while you're add it, can you toss in a "Burning Jap", you know, that drink that honors the dropping of the A-Bomb in WWII?" (or, perhaps, less offensively, asking the establishment to cease serving drinks with names like ICB) will, for a second, get people to think about the power that language has.
(And for those who think I'm taking it a step too far by being concerned and bothered... Imagine for just a second how PC any of the other made-up drink names I've used in this post are and if they'd be used... Would they be? Would you drink/order one?)