Green Fried Rice & a Shamrock Piñata on St. Patrick’s Day or Why I love America!

It’s hard to believe it’s been sixteen years since that fateful St. Patrick’s Day party at my place in Santa Ana when I hooked up with my wife.

Since my roommate was Vietnamese and I’m an undercover Hispanic we celebrated this Irish holiday in a 100% American way with green fried rice, a Shamrock piñata, Guinness, Irish whiskey and a multicultural and multicolored group of friends.

Not everyone was as enthused about this cultural miscegenation. My roommate’s Irish-American boyfriend just kept muttering between swigs of Irish whisky, “My grandfather must be turning over in his grave,” as we ate our fried rice and took turns whacking the pinata.

But that’s what I love about America. Where else can you celebrate an Irish Catholic holiday with an Asian and Mexican twist? Nowhere! And that’s why where others are dismayed at the sights and sounds of other countries in their own front yards, I see the strength and vitality that will be critical to our success in this global economy.

After all, I’m a cultural mutt. My kids are mutts. My dog’s a mutt. And that’s what makes America great – the mashups of people and cultures that create new versions of old traditions – especially food!

Lets face it the “traditional” American diet is pretty boring. I remember the days when even in LA my mom would have to drive cross town to get fresh raviolis and empanadas. And the concept of eating raw fish with rice and seaweed was virtually unheard of –  at least in my household. Instead, being a good Mexican-Argentine-American family we’d have much more traditional food, like bacon, eggs, waffles and beans or steak and beans or beans and empanadas…. you get the picture.

Back then, your choice of bread was white Wonder bread or if you wanted something with a little fiber  there was Roman Meal bread in the yellow and orange bag  – and that’s it. Now walk into a  supermarket in any major city and there’s tofu, tortillas, sushi and Sriracha  Sauce next to the Greek yogurt and Gruyere cheese.

Even beyond that, the dirty little secret of our information age is that it’s primarily powered by South Asian immigrants and others from around the globe with the talent, education and drive required to thrive in a code-driven economy.

And where would I be without this global society? Nowhere  as I’m a Paucho; the mix of an Argentinian Gaucho and a Mexican-American Pocho.

Worse yet, I’d never have met my French wife and learned about the joys of home-made whipped cream. Growing up I thought it just came out of a can and had no idea just how good it could be! Or how easy it is to make! I’d know nothing of tarts, the joys of cheese or the proper way to eat mussels – that’s with another mussel shell of course!

My kids wouldn’t be bilingual – now working toward trilinguality – and most of all I wouldn’t have my partner, the woman I love, the femme I fight with, the mother of my kids, who watches my back, tells me the things I don’t want to hear, holds me tight when I need a hug – my petite hummingbird who flits from task to task and declares on a daily basis, “I can’t understand why I’m so tired” despite waking at 5:30 a.m., rarely stopping, never sitting, helping cranky kids with homework, planting gardens, cleaning, installing kitchen tiles, cooking home-made meals, dashing to and fro for good deals and kids activities.

And I might not have her in my life if it weren’t for celebrating an Irish saint’s birthday nearly 1,700 years later here in America – home of the free, the brave and the mutts.


  1. yo daughtr says:

    It looks great! I liked it Good Job Dad!!:)

  2. ann says:

    Celebrating an Irish-Catholic holiday with an Asian and Mexican twist impacted my life in ways I would ever have expected.
    And where else but in America could green fried rice, a Shamrock Pinata, Guinness and a good quantity of Irish Whisky turn out to be the right mix for a multicultural and multi-colored St. Patrick’s Day party?

    Dear Kevin: Hope you don’t mind….but editorially speaking I thought your otherwise interesting story could use something like the above as an intro that might ‘hook’ or ‘grab’ your readers attention….. I didn’t want to impose my ideas any further, except to say that at the moment there are areas where your story seems to ‘wander’ from one issue another, so that the ‘real’ story gets a bit lost.
    Hope this helps,
    Ann (Canada)

    1. Thanks this is exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for. You’ve given voice to some of my submerged concerns so thanks for taking the time. Will spend some more time tweaking.

  3. Dr. Ray Mireles says:

    Kev, my lad:

    I am emailing the article in the Biking Magazine concerning your mountain biking trip to South America. It will show your readers what you (and your food tastes) were like before you entered the Age of Reason (if that is what we call marriage and kid raising). Dad

  4. syl says:

    cool kev.. thanks for sending the link. how long you had this up? I’m gonna share this with a friend who reminds me of you and loves loves to write. I agree a kind of different intro. to help knowing where you’re going with it would help.. for i thought it was going to be how you & your wife met by the 1st line. talk soon! Love ya! sista syl

  5. I think everything said was very reasonable. But, what about
    this? what if you wrote a catchier title? I mean, I don’t want to tell you how to run your website, but what if you added a title that makes people want more? I mean Green Fried Rice & a Shamrock Piñata on St. Patricks Day or Why I love America! | Kevin Mireles is a little vanilla. You ought to glance at Yahoo’s front page
    and watch how they create post headlines to get viewers interested.
    You might add a related video or a picture or two to grab people excited about what you’ve written. In my opinion, it might bring your posts a little livelier.

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