Have you outgrown celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a green beer at the local Irish pub? Yes, No? Well, I have – sort of. Every March 17th The Don and I still stop by Gallagher’s, O’Connell’s or Hennessey’s, not so much for a green beer any more, but we will have a Guinness (or two) and some salty corned beef. Because, well – he IS Irish and that makes me Irish by association and marriage. And, this ain’t no blarney – everyone’s got a drop o’ the Irish in them on St. Patty’s 🙂
Besides the wearing of the green and the token beer (or two) and corned beef at the local pub, I always cook something a little healthier to commemorate St. Patrick, whose life and death in the 5th century has been celebrated by the Irish as a religious holiday since the 5th century. Food factoid: Since March 17th falls in the midst of the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat are waived and people dance, drink, and feast on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage.
Last year I baked a rustic Irish Soda Bread and served it alongside Potato Leek Soup. The bread was incredibly easy to make: you didn’t have to knead it or wait for it to rise, just form it into a big (surprisingly heavy) dome on a cookie sheet and it bakes into a beautiful brown bread with a crunchy crust and heartiness of texture reminiscent of the Irish countryside. Inspired by that Irish staple : the potato – the silky potato leek soup is also super easy to make and can be served hot or cold. When served cold it’s called Vichyssoise – obviously, not an Irish name, but an American invention, according to Julia Child, in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. This year, I’m thinking Irish lamb stew. What’s your favorite dish on St. Patrick’s Day?
An ancient castle fortress on the road known as the Ring of Kerry that winds through Killarney National Park.
In 2007, we traveled to London, Edinburgh, and then to Ireland where we stayed in a lovely B&B in the town of Kenmare. It was a good decision to spend our time in the countryside because after numerous visits to museums, abbeys, and castles of London and Edinburgh, we were ready for the respite that the luscious green landscape of County Cork and County Kerry offers. Plus, we can say we survived driving in Ireland where they drive on the wrong side, i.e. left, AND the Ring of Kerry where the road is so narrow our car brushed branches of trees and shrubs along the side and all tour busses run counter clockwise as there is no way they can pass if two were to meet – its recommended that cars drive clockwise so you’re not looking at the rear end of a bus the entire drive! Ending our trip in Dublin, we visited the Guinness Storehouse and focused on experiencing the local flavor of countless pubs 🙂 Cheers to Guinness!