Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all my Irish and Irish-wannabe friends!
There are so many memories instilled in my mind about this day, I could fill several books – cooking and romance!
The warm, sweet smell of the Irish soda bread my grandmother taught me to make, and that I still make only on this day each year using her ancient, family recipe. The squishy feel of the dough between my fingers as I kneaded it into a round loaf shape; waiting anxiously as a kid for it to rise; adding the currants ( never raisins!) and then setting the timer because it had to bake for the exact time or it wouldn’t be perfect.
The years I marched in the NYC St. Paddy’s day parade as a Bellevue Nursing student. I proudly carried the banner from our school, never minding in the least the cold, wet, rainy weather or the hordes of drunken spectators cheering us – drunkenly! – as we marched in the streets.
The hours spent in bars after the parade, dancing, drinking, and cavorting with NYC’s finest firefighters and cops – who also marched in the parade.
The not-so-fond memories I have of eating boiled corn beef and cabbage. To this day I can’t make it in my own home because I gag from the smell. My grandmother would tell me I was a disgrace to my ancestors when I refused to eat it – but I swore I’d rather be a disgrace than spend the night barfing, any day! I’m still searching for a recipe that won’t make me ill at just the thought of cooking it.
The very first time I ever visited Ireland and fell in total and everlasting love with the people, the countryside, and the B&Bs. Friendship and camaraderie greeted us – total strangers- everywhere we roamed, and by the time we left a pub after dinner each night, we felt like old friends of the patrons.
The legend of St. Patrick is a tale every little genetically linked Irish kid knows, so I won’t bore you with it. Suffice it to say the man is probably more well known for a day devoted to revelry and drinking spirits than to his actual saintly occupation.
So, on this happy day – which happens to be my lovely mother in law’s birthday a well – I’ll leave you with two of my favorite Irish blessings: