If you didn't know already, I'm a loud and proud Irish girl. I'm from the Greater Boston Area, my family named most of their daughters Catherine and Kathleen like it was going out of style, and I even have a tattoo representing my grandfather's birthplace on the Emerald Isle.

Nineteen years of Irish family tradition has taught me a good deal about our food and culture, even if it has been a bit more Americanized in recent years. That being said, Irish food culture is something all our own and it differs heavily from other ethnicities, European or not!

Here's 21 food realities that only those of us with the luck of the Irish can understand!

1. We never skimp on meat

Funny, I don't think I've met too many Irish vegetarians. The Irish brought their love of meat across the pond and onto American dinner tables. Beef, sausage, lamb, you name it! The Irish will eat it. And sometimes, if you're lucky, your mammy will put it into a tasty Irish stew for you!

2. Same goes for potatoes

This is one Irish stereotype that is absolutely adhered to! Potatoes are easy to grow in Irish weather and full of nutrients like iron and vitamin B6–so why wouldn't we eat them by the bagful?

Oh, and did I mention they're delicious? An Irish family get together isn't the same without potatoes. Mashed, boiled, or roasted, taters are the perfect side dish for any occasion.

3. Oh, and it's "b'daytuhs"

I'll level with you, this is more geared to my Irish American friends in the Greater Boston Area. If this label applies to you, you definitely had a Nana or a Papa who pronounced "potatoes" with a "b."

Fun fact: for a short period of time, I actually thought this was how you were supposed to pronounce "potatoes."

4. It's hard to find a dry household

The Irish love to drink. Alcohol is a big part of most parties, family or otherwise, but the Irish have it down to an art. My dad always brings at least a 12-pack of his favorite beer to my uncle's house whenever we visit, and Irish coffees are a classic after-dinner drink.

If you're old enough, you can always get a little liquid courage at a family dinner. That said, years of practice have made Irish families exceptionally responsible–a fact I'm incredibly proud of.

5. Filet o Fish are a godsend during Lent

When I was younger, visits to my devout Irish Catholic Nana would always involve McDonald's. No, seriously, for years I associated my grandmother with the famed Golden Arches.

She would always request a Filet o Fish, and that's what she would have for lunch while I played with the new cool toy in my Happy Meal. There's a big association between the Irish and Catholicism, and Filet o Fish sandwiches are a great option for us on Fridays during Lent (no meat, no problem).

6. There's probably a restaurant that shares your last name

I seem to be the exception to this rule...no "Carney's Pub" just yet! But, there are tons of pubs that take common Irish last names. Within a couple of miles of my house, there's a Flynn's (pictured above), a Maguire's, an O'Connor's, and a Morgan's.

Google "Irish pubs in Boston," and there's plenty more where those came from. If you're looking for a specific proper-name pub, Emmets Boston on Beacon Street gets consistent rave reviews.

7. Two words: Soda bread

Just call me Oprah, because this is definitely on my list of favorite things. Many cultures have their own versions of soda bread, but the Irish definitely do it best. This is a classic recipe that's ready in under an hour, and is so simple, even a leprechaun could make it.

The crunchy crust gives way to a soft interior, and caraway seeds give the bread its own distinctive flavor. I personally think my dad has got the recipe on lock, but if you don't feel like making it yourself, supermarkets generally sell loaves of soda bread around St. Patrick's Day.

8. But don't worry about raisins if they're not your jam

Oftentimes, soda breads are made with either raisins or currants. But, I know that there are some folks out there who would rather see these raisins removed entirely–or at the very least, replaced with chocolate chips.

Say no more! If you don't love raisins, you can get rid of them from your soda bread and still have an authentic Irish recipe. Just don't expect the bread to be as sweet.

9. Corned beef and cabbage is really only for special occasions

When people think of a stereotypical "Irish meal," this is usually the first thing that they come up with. But, while corned beef is delicious, it's not like the Irish have it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner when family holidays come around.

I think I might have only had this meal once in my entire life. Plus, according to this article by Smithsonian Magazine, corned beef is a pretty unpopular meal in the homeland as well.

10. And we usually avoid black pudding as well

In contrast to corned beef, which is generally avoided on both sides of the Atlantic, black pudding is still pretty popular in Ireland. Demand for the stuff has been on the rise in Europe for the past couple of years.

For those uninitiated with the meat, black pudding is a sausage made out of congealed pork blood. Apparently it's a great source of protein, but something tells me that convincing Americans, even Irish Americans, on eating a bite of blood with their toast would be a tough sell.

11. Lucky Charms isn't our national cereal 

Ah, Lucky Charms. Can you make chipwiches out of them? Absolutely. Are they "magically delicious?" Absolutely! Does every single Irish American bolt for the stuff when they see it in the cereal aisle? Absolutely not.

This stereotype is right in line with the one that says all Irish have freckles and red hair. It may apply to some of us, but certainly not all of us. I'm more of a Honey Bunches of Oats girl myself...

12. Green food doesn't equal Irish food

Sure, the Chicago river may be dyed green for St. Patrick's Day, but that doesn't mean you should be eating green food all day to get in the Irish spirit.

Some "Irish foods" are green from the get-go, like cabbage for example. But when you start eating random green foods or dyeing foods green to make them Irish, we're gonna have a problem.

Ireland may be the Emerald Isle, but when's the last time you heard an Irishman ask for a kale smoothie?

13. Bailey's is always in the house

Ah, Bailey's how do I love thee? Let me count the ways... If you're not into the hard stuff, Bailey's is the liquor for all of your Irish drink needs. And if you belong to an Irish family, there's always a bottle of this in your house.

This creamer mixes Irish whiskey with heavy cream, making it perfect for sweeter drinks and even baked goods, like this Bailey's French toast. And even if you don't drink, you can still enjoy this mixer–you can find non-alcoholic Bailey's coffee creamers in the supermarket.

14. Homemade Shepherd's Pie is the only way to eat it

Shepherd's pie is the ultimate Irish comfort food: golden mashed potatoes, ground beef, and vegetables all melded together in a warm pie dish. You could even tweak this dish to make it more Thanksgiving inspired. What more could you want?

In my opinion, comfort food is always best homemade. When is the last time you found yourself favoring a restaurant's cooking over your Mom's, am I right? So to that end, ordering a shepherd's pie at a restaurant is just a recipe for heartbreak. Don't say I didn't warn you...

15. Rose is more than just a flower 

Authentic Irish chocolates come in a variety of unique flavors, one of the most popular being rose. Sounds weird, I know, but roses are actually edible, so why not use their flavoring?

Cadbury markets these treats under "Turkish Delight," and people love it! When my friend Deirdre's grandparents visited from Cork, they would always brings sweets. Sometimes, they'd bring rose candies, and while it was definitely an acquired taste, I'd recommend giving it a try if you have the chance!

16. Communion is practically its own food group

Whether or not you still attend services, most Irish Catholic kids attended Mass at one point or another during childhood. And therefore, you probably ate a lot of communion wafers.

While they may not lend themselves to as much culinary creativity as say, a Nilla wafer, communion wafers were an expected "food" on any given Irish Catholic Sunday.

17. ...until you got donuts after Mass

That said, many churches didn't expect a kid to be satiated by just a communion wafer. If your church was anything like mine growing up, there were donuts after Sunday service (praise the Lord).

And, while donuts aren't exactly an Irish delicacy, the sweet treats definitely speak to the "American" side of every Irish American. Check out these tips on how to create Girl Scout cookie-inspired donuts!

18. It's never quiet at the dinner table

The Irish are notorious for having crazy big families, so our family dinners are just as crazy. Yeah, sometimes it can be really awkward–I've had to dodge tons of questions about whether or not I have a boyfriend.

But, in my opinion, having a loud family dinner is a sign of family closeness. There's a million different conversations going on and someone is always laughing. Eating dinner with your family is uber important, something the Irish clearly understand.

19. You'll be drinking a lot of tea 

If you couldn't tell already, I've been using my Irish Nana as a barometer for much of this list, and the lady drinks a lot of tea. The Irish drink a lot of tea, whether by itself or with some biscuits.

Even if you hate it, there's no way of getting around this drink. There's good news however! Tea is great for you, and there's often a brew for every mood you're in...even for when your Irish temper takes over.

20. Irish breakfast would take down IHOP any day 

Okay, this picture shares a striking resemblance to an English breakfast. Irish and English breakfasts share a lot of the main components, but no matter what island nation you choose to eat form, the meal beats a standard American breakfast.

Sure, pancakes are delicious, and waffles have the perfect channels to hold syrup, but look at all of the protein you get with the Irish breakfast. And–unpopular opinion–I think toast is the best breakfast carb. 

It's crunchy, buttery, and the perfect vessel for peanut butter! Sounds like a sweet deal to me!

21. It's a rite of passage to go to the Guinness Factory

I don't think I've met a single person who has studied abroad in Ireland who hasn't taken a picture in front of the Guinness Storehouse. Now, imagine what it's like for someone of Irish descent!

No drink is deeper in Irish lore than Guinness, so a trip here practically means that your blood runs green...no really...it's science.

The Irish are a unique breed of people with our own special blend of emotions surrounding family and food. Though sometimes it seems a little crazy, but if you ask me or any other Irish American, you'd know we wouldn't have it any other way.