Saturday was St. Patrick’s Day, a day for everyone to wade through the mists of time to find some long-distant ancestor from the old country, fair Ireland. For my part, my ancestry is from Scotland, making me both fond of drink and disinclined to part with money. It’s okay, I’m Scottish, I can make fun of it! What did our family do to celebrate? First came the donning of green clothes. Once there was a clothing theme hinted to Child Harbat, there was no holding her back.
[breathless and frantic] “I can wear green pants too! Let me get my green socks!”
We found some appropriate jewelry, made by her grandma and no doubt sent along with appropriate hair gear. We found that too.
I made a quartet of Irish soda breads and sent them hither into the world to crumble as people tried to eat them. Soda bread is like a scone—if at least half makes it to your mouth instead of the front of your shirt, you’ve done well. Since it was a day celebrating the Green Isle, the weather turned downright Irish.
To celebrate the culinary delights of Ireland I boiled a piece of meat, a peppercorn and juniper berry-crusted corned beef, for several hours along with some wedges of cabbage that ended up looking, and tasting, like the wheel chocks you see bracketing the tires of a 747. Then I boiled some potatoes, forgot to add salt or pepper, and called it a day. But lo, all was restored with spicy mustard! Not sure if that is part of the truly traditional St. Paddy’s feast, but it added some much-needed color and flavor to the meal. I won’t give you a picture of the meal but challenge you to go and find a piece of the grey chipboard used at the back of cheap picture frames. Splatter some mustard in the corner and then eat it with a knife and fork while the wind spatters rain against the window and you’ll get the full ambience.
Did I end my St. Patrick’s day face-down in a puddle of green vomit? No, I got out my bagpipes and piped in the storm, sending skirling piobairechds out into the driven rain, letting my pipes finally sing free in their native environment. Then I spent the rest of the weekend fighting off a cold and weighing the joy of a romantic notion versus the reality of breathing in cold wet air for an hour. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!