Céad míle fáilte romhat! Today is Saint Patrick's Day. The modern secular holiday is based on the original Christian saint's feast day also thought to be the date of the saint's death. In 1737, Irish immigrants to the United States began observing the holiday publicly in Boston and the first St. Patrick's Day Parade was held in New York City around 1762.For me, of course, it's all about the food. And being an Irish lass through and through, I love having one day dedicated to celebrating the culinary heritage of my people. It's also a celebration day for Mr. Junkie, but for different reasons. In a house where breakfast usually consists of fruit and bran cereal with a coffee chaser, this man of German descent patiently awaits the St. Patrick's Day "full Irish fry-up" like kids wait for Christmas morning. Fresh eggs with soft (but not too soft) yolks, sausage, Irish bacon, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms and black and white puddings, and potato farls. On the side is Irish brown bread served with sweet Irish butter and preserves. (No baked beans, please...those are for Englishmen!!)No, we're not having corned beef and cabbage for dinner - that's an American tradition, and virtually unknown in Ireland (though bacon and cabbage is a popular dish). Lamb stew is on our table, along with parsnips and brussels sprouts. (Irish fare is simple, and all about what's fresh and in season.) There will also be creamy, buttery champ with scallions......And soda bread ( Soda bread was introduced in the 1840's, when bicarbonate of soda was found to be a good leavening agent for the "soft" wheat grown in Ireland.) with yes...more of that sweet Irish butter. (Bonus points if you know why an "X" is sliced into the top of the soda bread!) For dessert, it's apples baked in pastry, served up with Cashel blue (not an old tradition, but Irish through and through!) and a drizzle of cream.You won't find green beer at my house...that "tradition" alledgedly began in Canada. My preferred pint is Guinness (but Beamish and Murphy's are also in the running). Mr. Junkie's palate requires something a little lighter, so there are a couple of bottles of Harp Lager stashed away...with any luck, it will be just enough to hold him over until Ocktoberfest!
I wish you all a Beannachtam na Feile Padraig! (Happy St. Patrick's Day!) May you always have a clean shirt, a clear conscience, and enough coins in your pocket to buy a pint!
Please celebrate safely! Slán agus beannacht leat!
Tommy Moloney's is a great mail order resource for traditional Irish foodstuff.