Friday, March 6, 2009

Happy St. Patricks Day!

Saint Patrick's Day Customs
Wearin' o' the Green.During "penal times" when Catholics in Ireland were persecuted, and frequently had to hide, it was a crime to wear the color green, which symbolized Irish independence and defiance of their oppressors. But Irish-Americans today make a point of wearing something green on Saint Patrick's Day to signify pride in their Irish heritage. Parades and parties are commonly held on Saint Patrick's Day. Though these usually bear no resemblance to a religious celebration, they often feature traditional Irish music and dancing -- even people with no Irish ancestors wear green and join the festivities.
Sadly, there are still divisions in Ireland, and ancient hostilities between Irish Catholic "greensmen" and Protestant "orangemen" have persisted even into our own time and although the disputes are far more political than religious, this is a particularly sad example of the divisions that have existed among Christians for centuries.
Many brave souls have tried hard to bring peace and unity to the country and we can join in their prayers for peace.

Traditional Irish Foods
Besides potatoes, Irish-Americans customarily eat corned beef and cabbage, "Irish stew", and soda bread or oatmeal bread on Saint Patrick's Day. Recipes we use follow.

Irish Oatmeal Bread
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Mix together:
3 cups flour1 1/4 cups rolled oats (quick or regular)1 1/2 Tbsp. baking powder1 tsp. salt
Beat together:
1 egg1/4 cup honey1 1/2 cups milk1 Tbsp. butter
Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients, stirring until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Pour in a greased loaf pan, and bake about 1 hour and a quarter. Remove loaf to rack, and brush generously with butter.

Soda Bread
Beat together
2/3 cup sugar1/2 cup oil2 eggs
Mix together:
1 cup milk 2 Tbsp. vinegarand add to sugar and egg mixture
Stir in:
4 cups flour1 1/2 tsp. baking powder1 teaspoon baking soda1 cup raisins1 tsp. caraway seed
Knead a few times and form into a round loaf. Placed into 9-10" well-greased cast iron skillet. Cut cross in top. Brush with orange juice and sprinkle with sugar. Bake in skillet at 350 degrees F for 30 - 40 minutes until golden brown.
Joanna Bogle, a British Catholic journalist, gives this recipe for boiled bacon and cabbage in her 1988 book, Feasts and Seasons.

Boiled Bacon and Cabbage

To serve four (multiply as needed):1 1/2 lbs. boiling bacon or hamCabbage
Wash the bacon and if it is very salty, steep it in cold water for a few hours. Place in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring slowly to a boil and simmer, allowing 25 minutes to each pound and 25 minutes extra at the end of cooking. When cooked, remove the bacon, and cook the cabbage in the same water, chopped up. Remove the rind from the bacon. Sprinkle bacon with bread crumbs an place under the grill for a few minutes to brown. Slice the bacon and serve hot with the freshly cooked cabbage. Hot parsley sauce can be served with the bacon, if desired.
Do you have any special plans for Saint Patty's Day? Eat or drink anything special?
My Mom used to always make us Corn Beef and Cabbage. I am really not too fond of it
but it was a fun tradition.


Beautiful Pear Tree Lane said...

Thank you for this information and for reminding us to pray for our fellow christians in Ireland, and for the recipes.Thank you for stopping by and your sweet words.

JudyBug said...

How interesting! I'm with you on the corned beef and hash. Mother used to cook it and it wasn't my favorite thing by far!

Kelli said...

Great post! We always have corned beef, colcannon and soda bread for dinner!

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Thank you for your kind comment on my blog. I learned some things in your post about Ireland. They do need our prayers. Thanks for the recipes. laurie

Sharon said...

Thank you for the information on a holiday that is so widely celebrated. I'll bet most of those who celebrate have no idea of the origins for this holiday.

Anonymous said...