St. Patrick’s Day Foods

With St. Patrick’s Day fast approaching, I have been thinking about and craving some delicious Irish food. Irish food is delicious at any time of year, and this week you can most likely find some of your favorites on sale at the grocery store or on special at restaurants. What kinds of things do people enjoy eating on St. Patrick’s Day?

The most popular food on St. Patrick’s Day is the traditional boiled dinner of corned beef and cabbage. It is easy to make, hearty, and delicious. Many people make it in a slow cooker, but it can be prepared on the stove top as well. What you may not know is that in Ireland, it was not corned beef that was traditionally enjoyed with the cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day, it was bacon. Irish immigrants started eating corned beef with their cabbage once they came to America. There are difference of opinion as to why this is so, some say it has to do with racial stigmatism associated with the pig and others say that it is because corned beef was expensive and hard to come by in Ireland and cheap and plentiful in America. Incidentally, cabbage sautéed with bacon is a tasty side dish that can add a little Irish flavor to other meals.

Other tasty Irish treats for St. Patrick’s Day and year round consumption include Irish soda bread, shepherd’s pie, and boxty, which are potato pancakes which can be wrapped around a variety of different fillings. I had some boxty once that were served with salmon, cream cheese, tomatoes, and onions and they were so delicious. My mother makes an excellent Irish soda bread which I am now craving thanks to writing this post. Mom, if you are reading this and you have an extra loaf of soda bread hanging around, I would not be offended if it were mailed to my address.

Don’t forget to pick up some extra corned beef the day after St. Patrick’s Day. It freezes well. We picked up a few last year for a great price and discovered that you can boil it and then toss it on the grill to char it for a couple of minutes for a summertime treat. We make a creamy dipping sauce from whole grain mustard mixed with mayonnaise and serve that with the grilled corned beef and a salad. Now in addition to the soda bread, I am craving grilled corned beef. Ah, the perils of blogging about delicious Irish food.

Photo by slezer44 on morguefile.com.

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