Saturday, 6 March 2010

Intercultural Icons -The Pizza and The Pub

Whatever country you choose to go in the world - two things are certain: You will most certainly find an Irish Pub there and you will find some pizza. Why is that? What makes them so ubiquitously popular? How do they manage to cross borders so easily - why does everybody from Japan to Chile love a slice of tomato-y dough or a good sing along and a glass of the black stuff?

And that's precisely not the point: it isn' about what you actually get. Instead, it's about what everybody associates with them. Pizza - that means Italian homecooking at its best. Simple, tasty, unfussy. And in an Irish pub you can be sure of congeniality, great vibe, craic.

So you become part of a concept you secretly adore. There is no exclusion, no snobbishness about either. Everybody can share, everybody likes what you like, and everybody is happy. So really, it's about a community you're "biting" into - the simple lost world of homeliness and comfort.

Ireland and Italy with their metoynmic offerings - have managed what other countries struggle with. They've exported their national symbols and in turn got people to associate those very values with their nations. Maybe not everything in Ireland is that congenial, maybe Italy in reality isn't that homely and comforting... But so what?

I am full of admiration that some countries manage to spread such joie de vivre, such a feeling of togetherness and shared value on an international, and poly-cultural scene - and with so little effort!

Oh and Happy up-coming St.Patrick's Day!


  1. It's almost a brand, isn't it? A good one that no-one has copyright or trademark rights to. Interesting.

    Helena xx

  2. I am half Irish if anyone asks I always say the top half :)
    My mother is actually there at the moment .. I wish they would keep her, she is far happier ..
    I think both things are comforting, I dont know why but, they are x

  3. I like both - and best of all pizza in an oirish pub!

  4. I totally agree that of all European cultures the Irish and the Italians seem to exude the most relaxed, friendly atmosphere, and attract perhaps as a result of that almost universal goodwill. And it's based on very little except a certain genuineness, conversational engagement, simplifications I guess. But it is true that both have managed to export something amazingly simple on a global basis that is universally accepted. St. Patrick's day is celebrated across the globe. Not sure about the Italians. Shame the rest of the UK can't manage that kinda of resonance...maybe 1916 was a good thing for the lucky fellas. Pint of Guinness please!

  5. Really pleased you all agree! There really is nothing nicer... And Edward, yes I have to say I prefer a pint of frothy Guinness to some funny tea-coloured liquid in an English pub!

  6. Great post, I think it's comforting knowing that where ever I may go in the world there will be somewhere that is familia to me, not because I
    m Irish or Italian. But as you say because an Irish pub or an Italian restaurant feels like home to me and many others from all different nationalities!

  7. Great post, I'm half Irish and half Italian! Happy Saint Pat's day (with pizza) :)

  8. Ireland and Italy have managed to reach their tentacles across to Turkey as well. The funny thing is, the Irish bar in Fethiye is run by a Scottish man and 'the black stuff' is unavailable in Turkey. So what does that say? Maybe the customers are still drawn by the friendliness and familiarity that an Irish bar conveys - even if it serves Efes Turkish beer.

  9. I would not have thought of pizza in an Irish pub. But, why not?