3.17.2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I hope all of you are taking a wee bit of time to ponder all the green things you have in your life on this the day of St. Patrick. Having lived in Ireland over this holiday sets me up a little bit for a bit of amusement now that I am back in the States. You see, I lived in Northern Ireland where slightly more than half of the residents don't like the Irish and don't consider themselves Irish (kind of a funny notion particularly when you consider that they do consider themselves British but most of the British would consider them Irish--it is a strange, strange place). So while in Ireland I never actually celebrated the holiday. I never had corned beef and cabbage. Didn't run around pinching people who weren't wearing green. Didn't go to a parade. Nothing. It was just another normal day. From what I understand, even in the South (or the Republic of Ireland) there is not much celebration going on--aside from getting drunk but let's face it the Irish don't really need a holiday to do that.

With this in my background I have been trying to figure out how to celebrate this holiday. I purchased some green headbands with sparkly shamrocks held 3 inches off the head by wire and some rub-on tattoos for the nieces because they were just too cute. But for me myself, I'm not really wearing green. (I have a green sweatshirt that says Ireland across the front but I decided that was too typical and obvious.) I did decide to do a little bit of a nod to the holiday with a headband with a bit of green and a pair of socks that say Ireland (but you can't see them because I'm wearing boots).

So I have pretty much failed in the American sense of the holiday thus far today. But I intend to rectify the situation with dinner tonight. What to have, though? At first I was feeling a bit lazy and thought I would make some Irish oatmeal (which is different than normal oatmeal) and soda bread but the forces (family) around me thought that was not good enough. I never really considered corned beef and cabbage because I never actually had either the entire time I was in Ireland so I'm not really convinced that it is Irish. I did think about having potatoes cause they eat that--a lot! I went there knowing that the potato was a big deal in Ireland but really I had no idea how big. Potatoes are served with pretty much every meal. In fact, most dinner meals have two different types of potatoes (usually boiled and fried). Once I sat down to a dinner and pointed out to the hostess (with whom I was very close) that we were having 4 different types of potatoes. She looked at the table and said no we are only having 3. I counted them out for her: boiled, mashed, fried, and potato salad. Here response was that potato salad isn't a potato dish. I still can't figure out how that is true since the only things in potato salad in Ireland are potatoes and mayo (nasty stuff). Anyway, my point is that potatoes are a substantial part of an Irish diet. (If you go to a pizza hut in Ireland and order a pizza it comes with a side of fries) Still I didn't really feel like making potatoes.
So in the end I decided to do an Ulster fry. Ulster is a province in Ireland and an Ulster fry is a traditional breakfast there. This is actually a really great choice because not only is it something I did eat (and really like) but also because it is rather symbolic of the food in Ireland. An Ulster fry consists of: fried bacon (more like our ham); fried sausages (nasty stuff that I never learned to like); fried eggs; fried farls of soda bread (I'm still hoping to find some of this--so far the recipes that I have found is not for the farl form of soda bread); fried potato bread (because there has to be some potato in the meal--really good bread!); fried tomatoes; and fried mushrooms.
Symbolically this is important because I rather quickly discovered the Irish fry a lot of their foods--and I mean a lot! Like I said I am still hoping to do the soda bread, but I am changing the sausage to American sausage which is good and not doing the fried tomatoes cause I never really like those either.
What are you eating/doing on this fine holiday?

2 comments:

Jen said...

You are so good! We just do the totally cheesy American thing and dye normal foods green! This year I'd thought I'd try and just use normal green foods and see how that goes. Family Fun had great ideas and so I think we're having spinach pasta with pesto sauce and green garlic bread (never tried soda bread, is it good? btw, family fun has a recipe for that!) and limeade. I may have to throw some grilled chicken on top that I will not dye green. But I wish I was trying your dinner! And I'm going to try and find that movie! Thanks!

Yankee Girl said...

I love soda bread farls. I'm not a fan of sada bread with raisins and nuts in it. I'm trying a recipe out so if it works I'll pass it on.