Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Little Bit Irish

When I was growing up, St. Patricks's Day meant a classroom craft, and wearing green. When we were a bit older, my mom started making corned beef and cabbage for the occasion, a tradition that raised some eyebrows, because... I guess, it wasn't quite so common for everyone to celebrate the day. No one would ever suggest we were even the teeniest bit Irish, but every time that dish was set on our dining table, a friend would pause, and ask. Not that it really matters. These days, St. Patrick's Day seems to have become a bigger deal, and a deal for everyone, no matter how teeny bit Irish you are! Maria has been coming home from school with stories about 'leprechaun traps, finding treasure, more candy, gifts, surprises,' and she sighs a wee bit wistfully. Poor darling! Her momma will go to great lengths to make Groundhog Day a thing, and goodness knows we need very little impetus to to roll out a humdinger of a party, but the beer-and-candy, industry driven holidays leave me cold. However, enriching our cultural experiences, learning something new, and making it a bit our own... that's something I can get into!

I may not be the teeniest bit Irish, but my children are, and they have this lovely, innate attraction to Irish music and culture. Lark in The Morning and The Waterford Boys get more playtime here, than any pop tune ever will. William designed a pattern for a bow tie that we made... green, for St. Patrick's Day. And besides Maria's wide-eyed lament about the sad absence of shamrock shakes and green pancakes, there was an expectation that something should be forthcoming to mark St. Patrick's Day. And so we did make a to-do, with our own Irish flavors and nods to heritage and culture.

William asked for an Irish Stew, a vegetarian Irish Stew. I've never had either variety, but I read a few recipes and gathered a few ingredients, and created a simple, yet rich, soup of leeks, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, and butter. And Max made an Irish Soda Bread! I found the recipe for him in Alice Water's Art of Simple Food. (At long last, we've cooked another recipe for the cooking group! Oh, gosh... the last three posts referring to the cooking group are my excuses for not keeping up with the cooking group. No shame.) Anyway, I left the baking to Max and he handled it beautifully! This was my first taste of an Irish Soda Bread and I thought it was delicious... a great complement to hot soup. And he made it look so gorgeous, too, like a four leaf clover! And just like my mother, I cooked corned beef, with huge wedges of steamed cabbage. The cabbage is my favorite part! For a bit o'gold we drank sparkling Chardonnay grape juice from pretty glasses.

Dinner was delicious, and after we ate we were out in the garden, planting, playing tag, herding chickens, and enjoying a cool breezy evening. While we cleared dishes, William made dessert... are blondie bars Irish? Probably not. But those were delicious with strawberries. Everyone's homework was completed early, so we finished our wee holiday by watching The Secret of Kells. Nothing missing, but Geoff. Geoff we are missing, a lot. But, with a little luck, we'll be seeing him more regularly, soon. That's the end of the rainbow treasure I'm watching for!


judy in ky said...

Your family had a wonderful St. Patrick's day. I wasn't feeling energetic so all I did was bake some sugar cookies with green sprinkles!
My mother used to make regular food but dye everything green! (Green oatmeal for breakfast and green mashed potatoes at dinner.) I like your way much better.

Mickie said...

This sounds lovely!

Janece said...

Delightful! that Irish Stew looks incredible! And baker's hats off to Max and his beautiful bread.

Ah... and The Secret of Kells. So good.