Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Growing up we always celebrated St. Patrick's Day by wearing green (after all who wanted to get pinched) and by eating corned beef and cabbage.   I liked wearing green but the truth be told I never much cared for corned been or cabbage (unless it is raw).  As the years went by, I thought perhaps if I cooked it like a roast vs. boiling it, I would like it better.  Well, there was an improvement but not enough.  Then I thought perhaps I could just cook a roast (not corned beef) and my sister gave me a recipe for fried cabbage.  Again some improvement but not quite what I wanted.

In 2012 I visited Ireland and learned a few things.  First, I saw Crough Patrick where St. Patrick supposedly chased the snakes out of Ireland.  I was thrilled to see this mountain from my Great Grandmother Bridget Chamber's town of her birth, Islandeady.  Second, I ate in restaurants for an entire week and didn't run across any corned beef.  Who started this tradition?  Well probably someone in America!  I decided I would start my own tradition for St. Patrick's Day that didn't include corned beef or cabbage.  So, at my house we now have Guinness Stew (I think yesterday's recipe was the perfect one -- of course, most things taste better with bacon) with Guinness bread (also very tasty) and then for dessert we have banofee pie.  Banofee pie has a shortbread or sugar cookie crust and is filled with bananas, caramel syrup or dulce las leche and whipped cream.  What is not to like about it?

I have been thinking that perhaps I ought to celebrate St. Patrick's Day or at least my Irish heritage for more than one day.  A few weeks ago, I happened to be in a real life bookstore (I say that because I now tend to get most of my books through Kindle but still love bookstores!) and saw that they had a table set up with Irish books. The fact that they had marked them down in price only made me want them more!  So, I bought a book titled "The Secrets of Ireland" by Kevin Eyres that contains gorgeous photos of Ireland.  While my daughter was picking out a book about Irish Scary Stories (I hate scary stories) for me, there was another book that caught my eye -- "Ireland's Pirate Queen: The True Story of Grace O'Malley" by Anne Chambers.  Now, this sounds like a very interesting book (and I guess I am way behind since the original was printed in 1979) and perhaps, Anne Chambers and I even share some common Chambers ancestors!

I have just started reading about the Pirate Queen and will talk more about it in a later post.

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