I was strolling down the grocery store aisles on Monday morning, selecting cabbage, potatoes and corn beef for a family dinner in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. While eyeing the strawberries, my pal who works in the produce department noticed the Irish ingredients overflowing in my arms — “Eh, are you Irish?” he asked. Feeling a bit silly, I took a silent tour through my ancestral roots, desperately searching for even a trace of Irish, but alas, there was none. I had to reply, “No, not even a little bit.” I then explained to the vegetable guy, that in our house, holidays are a time to explore the foods and traditions of other cultures. That evening, at least, my family would be Irish.
I invited my friend Debbie, who does have some genuine Irish blood in her family, to cook and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with us. Knowing our kids wouldn’t eat boiled potatoes and cabbage (and frankly, neither would I), we gave our meal a modern twist, subbing in potato pancakes and sautéed cabbage. Having both thrown some corn beef in our slow cookers several hours earlier, we set out to make the Irish soda bread. (What kind of Irish dinner would be complete without it?) I measured the ingredients and Debbie mixed and molded the dough into bread. While the bread baked, we focused on making our version of cabbage and potatoes. With six ravenous children chomping at the bit, it took no time before their plates were licked clean.
After dinner, and in the hopes of catching a leprechaun that night, my eight year old daughter created a trap out of a shoe box, some tin foil and a banana. She didn’t catch a leprechaun but our quirky St. Patrick’s Day feast was a success.