It is, as my Uncle Eddie always used to say, a great country we live in. On Sunday, proof was in the pudding, the black and the white Irish variety, to be precise.
A fundraiser by an Irish cultural organization was held in the longtime home of a German organization that has been in the Utica area for some 140 years. I loved the cultural convergence, and I loved the traditional Irish breakfast that was served at the Utica Maennerchor, off Route 49 in Marcy.
The breakfast, which is not for the faint of heart, included two eggs, Irish bacon, Irish sausage, black pudding and white pudding, Irish soda bread and brown bread, and broiled tomatoes. Topped off with a cup of tea, and we could have been in Kenmare.
Wife L had to know where the bacon, sausage, and puddings hailed from, and she was told they came directly from Prime Cut Irish Butchers in The Bronx.
I ate all of my pudding, fearing the wrath of Pink Floyd, and it was fine, though I can’t say I’d look for it again any time soon. It’s really another kind of sausage, made with oatmeal and spices. The black pudding has pig’s blood in it, and white pudding, well, doesn’t. Probably didn’t need to know that, but there you go.
The breakfast fundraiser was sponsored by Craobh Dugan of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, which was looking to defray costs of its bringing the heralded Echoes of Erin to our area. The concert will be held Oct. 15 at Rome Free Academy, by the way, and features 12 incredibly talented musicians, singers, and dancers from Ireland itself.
It was my first trip to the Maennerchor, which is still catering to the area’s German community and all others with an interest in music, tradition, food, and drink. The organization will hold its annual Oktoberfest on Oct. 1, and recently held its Bavarian Festival. It also offers a Friday night fish fry, which offers me another place to try one day.
The large hall has banners promoting different villages and towns in Germany, along with historic photos from Utica, including those featuring the organization’s choirs. The Utica Maennerchor was chartered back in 1865 to promote choral singing.
There are two, count ’em, two shuffleboard tables in the large bar area. The kind you sprinkle sawdust on and slide the pucks with your hand to score points at the far end.