It might have once been an important religious festival, but the real reasons behind celebrating St Patrick’s Day have long since been lost under a blanket of Guinness and green vomit. Today, it’s all about making everything as viridescent as possible in a 24 hour period. It’s a task we all take extremely seriously.
Apart from the Irish American traditions of corned beef and cabbage, it seems the only rule for food and drink on the 17th of March is that it has to be aggressively and uncompromisingly green. Over the years this approach has given is some of the weirdest, least appetising dishes ever conceived by man. And yet, we persist. These are the weirdest things that people eat and drink on St Patrick's Day.
1. Shamrock Shake
Probably the most infamous of all the attempted Irish-themed big brand cash grabs, McDonald’s shamrock shake is an annual tradition that doesn’t get any easier to stomach with the passage of time. Minty, creamy and, obviously, green, the milkshake has been a mainstay of Maccies’ March menu for years.
2. O’riginal Donut
Another fast food brand intent on reaping the benefits of having a conveniently chameleon-like product are Krispy Kreme. Thanks to industrial quantities of green food dye, the donut giants are easily able to turn their signature glazed ring into a lurid St Patrick tribute. It looks weird, but it’s still delicious.
3. Guinness Crisps
If there’s one drink that defines St Patrick’s Day, it has got to be Guinness. Thanks to its distinct flavour and colour, a pint of the black stuff goes well with a load of classic snacks and dishes, but blending it with potato chips is and always will be a bit odd. Delicious, yes, but odd.
4. Green Beer
Green food dye has been dunked into barrels of alcohol for as long as March 17th has been more about booze than saints, but that doesn’t make green beer any more normal. All over the world, bars convert golden kegs into alcoholic pea soup, all in order to look as patriotic as possible. This doesn’t make it any easier to stomach.
5. Shamrock Frappuccino
Not to be outdone by their competitors at McDonald’s, Starbucks also have a long and storied history of bilious beverages, the most recognisable of which is easily the shamrock frappuccino. A mixture of matcha powder and peppermint syrup, this drink is just about the least healthy mint tea you’re likely to come across.
6. O’Sanders Burger
Kentucky Fried Chicken may be deservedly associated with Kentucky, but that doesn’t stop them from trying to board the Irish band wagon when March rolls around. Launched as part of a culturally dubious campaign, the O’Sanders came complete with a tongue-in-cheek advert packed with Irish stereotypes. It’s finger lickin’ grand.
7. St Patrick’s Day M&Ms
Obviously, no one picks M&Ms for their colour, but there’s still something slightly disconcerting about a big bag of bright green chocolate. Also earmarked with a shamrock and “luck of the Irish” message, these treats are an ideal way to round off the greenest day of the year.
The quality of ingredients is, for many people, a secondary consideration come St Patrick’s Day. Perhaps this explains why so much of the food we eat is so weird. Even though being green doesn’t necessarily equal deliciousness, it doesn’t seem likely that the trend is going to stop any time soon.