Planning St. Patrick's Day Dinner
I was looking at the CBS news video clips yesterday and found that Chicago has already held its St. Patrick's Day Parade! It was yesterday afternoon! I guess it was the closest Sunday before the event. I used to love heading down there and watching the parade and then going to an overcrowded Irish pub for an Irish coffee (I'm not a beer fan) surrounded by crazy people with green face paint and green glitter shamrock antennae on their heads. Yeah, we have no shame but we have a lot of fun! My clearest memory (there are a lot of fuzzy ones!) of the Chicago St. Patrick's Day parade was when I actually turned my back to an Irish pro-life float while everyone around me cheered like mad.
Anyway, it started me thinking that this is yet another occasion to have an (Irish) American dinner for my Italian friends who don't even know March 17th is a holiday. I looked on Epicurious.com and found that they are featuring a meal that "goes beyond corned beef and cabbage". I expected something more Irish like Bacon and Cabbage and less Irish-American like beef stew, which is what they suggest. Beef has not traditionally been a very common food in Ireland and that makes sense if you've ever seen the Irish countryside with all those tiny plots of land separated by those beautiful rock walls. Not cattle ranch material. Anyway, they have traditionally raised animals like pigs and sheep that require less or no grazing land. Hence the bacon of Bacon and Cabbage. Irish beef is a recent phenomenon (like post British Mad Cow) and it now sells all over Europe, so I guess Corned Beef and Cabbage could start being popular in Ireland itself. Anyway, this Friday, I have no access to "corned beef" so I'm going with the real-deal Irish Bacon and Cabbage.