St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, is often thought of as a drinking holiday in the United States. That may stem from its long history in Ireland as a reprieve from the duty of Lenten sacrifice, as described by History.com. For that one day only, Catholics could venture into the pubs and enjoy a pint or two. If you’re fond of your Irish heritage but beyond the age of crowding into a pub to swill beer and shout out the refrains to Irish drinking songs, dinner of corn beef and cabbage needn’t be your lot. Here’s how to show your green at your own St. Patrick’s Day dinner party, without feeling green come morning.
What to Serve
Guests may expect the traditional boiled dinner of corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes. That doesn’t mean you’re obliged to serve it. In fact, History.com notes that the now customary March 17 fare was an American twist on the common Irish meal of bacon and potatoes. Since the corn beef and cabbage isn’t even authentic, there’s no harm in a little substitution. Why not offer a traditional Irish dish your guests have yet to taste?
Irish Colcannon is a vegetable casserole that is more Irish as corned beef and cabbage. If you simply must have meat at your table, you might try a Dublin Coddle, a potato, bacon, and sausage dish that was originally an amalgamation of leftovers but today is a culinary creation in its own right. The Northwest Herald says it’s known as a quintessential Dublin comfort food.
Enjoying a traditional Irish beverage needn’t invite a hangover. St. Patrick’s Day is on Monday this year, reason enough to go light on the beer and whiskey. Take a tip from Irish ex-pats and search out some Miwadi, a concentrated nonalcoholic cordial available in black currant, orange or lime flavors. Or opt for Cidona, a virtually alcohol-free alternative to the hard Bulmer’s Cider. Both are available in the USA from Food Ireland.
To avoid the overdone, skip shamrocks and Irish knots when planning your dinner table centerpiece. Instead, stop by the Gonna Fly Squidoo page and nab the instructions for constructing the Blarney Castle or Celtic Monastery from paper or cardstock to decorate your table.
Gift of Gab
Not everyone was born to be a storyteller but you can help get the gab going. When it’s time to sit down, pass a basket of Irish jokes, one for each diner to read aloud to break the ice as dinner gets underway.
When the night comes to a close, share an old Irish blessing with your parting guests: “May the hinges of our friendship never grow rusty.”