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Celebrate St. Patricks Day With A Real Irish Feast!
by Bridget Haggerty
Are youre planning on serving Corned Beef and Cabbage? If youre one of more than 40 million Americans of Irish descent, its definitely the traditional meal. But what if you dont like corned Beef? Or, saints preserve us, youre ready to rebel against the masses and try something new and different? Well, the truth is, if you serve just about anything but the usual Irish-American cliché, youll be more in step with your Irish ancestors and any of your kin still living in Ireland.
So, what follows is a menu thats different, but still maintains its Irish heritage. The important thing to remember is that the main course should always be meat. In the old days, this was in honor of the festival and as a relief from the austerities of Lent. This tradition goes back many centuries.
As the story goes, early in the 12th century, a monk by the name of Jocelin wrote an account of the life of St. Patrick. He tells us that during his religious training, the Saint was tempted to eat meat and for that purpose, he hid some pieces of pork. However, he was heartily sorry for succumbing to temptation and repented so sincerely that God sent an angel to comfort him. St. Patrick rose from his knees and utterly renounced the eating of meat for the rest of his life. He then sought a sign from God that he had been forgiven. The angel asked St. Patrick to bring forth his hidden meats and plunge them into water. This he did, and the meats immediately became fish! St. Patrick often recited this miracle to his disciples and from then on, the Irish began to put meats into water, take them out, and call them Fishes of St. Patrick! True or not, the records show that since the 1100s at least, the Irish embraced the eating of meat on the feast day of their patron saint.
In honor of St. Patrick and also in honor of my dad who loved pork, Ive chosen a main course flavored with Bunratty Meade. Besides being the favorite meat of many Irish people, this dish also incorporates one of the oldest drinks in Ireland. Mead was once consumed at all the big feasts and it is still served at the medieval banquets in Bunratty Castle. The real thing is readily available. To read an article all about mead, please click here: Only a Fortress Could Hold Such Treasures
Now to the menu and where to find the recipes!
Appetizer: Dublin Bay Prawn Cocktail
Entrée: West Cork Pork with Cranberry meade Applesauce
Vegetables: Potatoes boiled in their jackets and baby carrots
Soda Bread: A Taste of Ireland - Soda Bread
Dessert: Baileys Chocolate Trifle
Beverages: Chilled Chardonnay with the appetizer or Harps Lager for the beer drinkers. Mead with the main course and Irish coffee with dessert. Irish Coffee
As the old Irish toast goes - Heres to a healthy heart and a wet mouth! And, until next time, Beannachtái na feile Padraig agat - Blessings of the feast of St Patrick to you!
For another St. Patrick's Day Menu please click St Patrick's Feast
As a recommendation for our St. Patrick's Day Feast we received this flattering message:
Subject: St. Patrick's Day Dinner
I followed the recipe that you had on your site for St. Patrick's Day. It was excellent! My family went nuts for the new and unique taste of the West Cork Pork, and the zing of the cranberries in the applesauce made for an excellent dinner. We served it with boiled potatoes and baby carrots, as suggested, and we had the Bailey's Chocolate Trifle for dessert. Nobody believed that I cooked it because it was so good.
A tip of the hat to you and your excellent advice on holiday cooking! Our St. Patrick's Day celebration wouldn't have been complete without it.
Content: The Year in Ireland by Kevin Danaher.
Recipes for West Cork Pork and Baileys Chocolate Trifle adapted from Cooking with Irish Spirits by Margaret Johnson.
Image: West Cork photo from Irish Government Web Site Photo Gallery.
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Wed, Feb 26, 2014
"...the freshest of food and
the oldest of drink"
- Irish Proverb
The New Irish Table
by Margaret Johnson
Margaret Johnsons love of Ireland permeates page after glorious page of mouthwatering Irish dishes, from Smoked Salmon Chowder to Raspberry Buttermilk Tarts. Lavish color photographs of the food, the landscapes, and the people are woven through the text, making The New Irish Table the next best thing to sitting down to dinner in Ireland itself.
Click here for New Irish Table.