Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

Despite its origins as a saint's day and a celebration of the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, in my house, Saint Paddy's Day festivities boil down to three essential ingredients:

1. The Wearing of the Green
I make a point to wear something that is green, honoring the original Saint Patick's fascination with shamrocks. Interestingly, he used them to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity, as I recently did using an apple.

Anyway, yes, I wear green. And yes, I will ask you if you are wearing green, too. If you are not, I may offer you a Saint Patrick's-inspired temporary tattoo. But don't worry, I won't try to pinch you. I think that's mean.

2. The Boiling of the Beef
Saint Patrick's Day dinner is sacred. Corned beef served with boiled potatoes and cabbage, and a minimum of extra seasonings and condiments. This presentation honors the lean times and tough years that many an Irishman survived, and it reminds me that even the most rustic food, simply prepared, can be downright delicious.

Corned beef is shockingly easy to make. Buy it, dump the entire contents of the package into a big pot of water, boil. It's not a rich cut of meat or a refined cooking process, but it gets the job done.
When the corned beef is about a half hour from being done, quarter some red potatoes and add them to the pot.  Cook till for the skins to start to peel away and you'll know they are done.
When the potatoes are done, fish them out of the water with a slotted spoon and add chunks of raw cabbage.
When the cabbage is soft, serve it up in a bowl. Carve up the corned beef into thin slices, after first trimming off any excess fat.
Set the table with lots of green. It makes the food taste even better.
Eat it all up. Don't let my modest portions fool you...I ate about 37 platefuls of this goodness.  Mmmm, don't forget the horseradish.

3. The Charm of My Irishman
My good dog, Ranger, is an Irish Setter. Before him, I have loved two other fine Irish Setters, named Kelly and Casey. So for me, Saint Patrick's Day is also a celebration of these loyal and entertaining companions who have blessed my life with their never-ending blarney and Irish good looks. If you don't have your own furry Irishman handy to pet his fluffy ears or kiss on his sweet pointy head, I offer you the following glimpses of my handsome lad. 

So that's how I celebrate Saint Patrick's Day. What about you?

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For a recap on my lifetime of loving the Irish, read these stories:

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