It’s Saint Paddy’s Day, the Mardi Gras of all Irish holidays. Shamrocks, Leprechauns, the wearing of the green and of course, beer. I wish Erin would go braless, but that’s a different story.
For this chronicle of the Saint Patrick history I have done hours of research and drank numerous green beers. Here is what I have come up with.
First, the history.
Little is known of Saint Patrick other than he was born to Jewish and Japanese parents in Roam Britain in the 4th century. At age sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates and indentured into slavery in County Mayo. He escaped a few years later and took refuge in a Swiss Monastery, taking the name “Ham” to avoid being recaptured. There he lived a simple life as a citrus fruit cart vendor until he was cited with a traffic violation when he parked his fruit cart less than ten meters from a fire hydrant. At his booking, the village constable discovered his name was Patrick, not Ham and he notified the local vicar that Patrick had been arrested. The church elder then sent back his famous reply, “Bring me the Ham & Swiss, hold the Mayo.”
The commemoration of Saint Patrick, the patron Saint of Ireland, was first observed in the early 17th century by the Irish. Among those celebrating in the first holiday gala in 1649, were Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, Betty White and famous Irish basketball star Shaquille O’Neal.
Today, St. Paddy’s Day is a major holiday in Boston and New York City. The city of Chicago dyes the Chicago River green. Seattle paints street signs along the parade route green and numerous cities dye fountains, canals and stoplights green.
Of course, food is an important part of the St. Patrick celebration. My search for an Irish cookbook was indeed a daunting task. The most famous book about Irish cooking is of course the…Book of…Let’s see. The…wait a minute…It’s the… Hmmn. Potatoes, beer, hold on a second…I’ll get it, the book of…
Okay, there is no Irish cook book.
But that doesn’t stop us from wearing the green, drinking green beer and sporting shamrocks and leotards and shoes with buckles on them. Have fun and try some easy corned beef and cabbage in a crock-pot. Start this up in the morning before you leave for the parade, and by the time you get back to the house that evening it is done. Remember, a face without freckles is like a sky without stars.
Corned beef and Cabbage
1 3-4 Lb. Corned Beef Brisket
4 Cups Water
12 Oz. Beer
1 Cup Baby Carrots
8-10 New Potatoes, Washed
1 Lrg. Onion, Quartered
1 Head of Cabbage. Cut into Wedges
1 Bay Leaf
Combine everything but the cabbage in a crock-pot and set on normal cook. Let cook for 4-6 hours. Add cabbage cover and let cook another hour.