We all know you're supposed to wear something green on Saint Patrick's day in honor of Ireland. But I don't. My heritage is Scots, English, and Welsh and I'm most aware of my Scots' lineage. Given the long-time rivalry between the Irish and Scots (actually, between the Irish and almost everyone) I insist on wearing a bit of plaid on the Saint's day.
Whiskey and Ancestors
But that said, the progenitors of the Scots, Irish, and Welsh are the Celts and the Gaels. So I do feel a certain solidarity with the little men of Ireland and while their whiskey can't compare with the rare nectar of a good highland or Islay malt, it's drinkable enough in a pinch. And in truth, my clan (Sutherland) plaid contains a great deal of green.
In a spirit of communality, the cooking guides at About.com have come together to create an inspiring list of Irish and Irish-inspired dishes for your culinary pleasure. I've been mentioning them for the past week, but here they are all in a rush. Led by Elain Lemm, our About.com guide to British and Irish Cooking.
I would note that if you plan a day, or even just an evening, of beer, whiskey and revelry then the best beginning is a good breakfast. And because the Irish love milk, pour a big glass of good whole, un-homogenized (if you can find it) milk to go with her breakfast.
A Taste of Ireland
Elaine Lemm – British Food: St Patrick’s Day can be long with all the celebrations and parades, so make sure you start out with a good breakfast: A Full Irish with bacon, eggs, sausage and potato Fadge and a couple of slices of Soda Bread will keep you going.
Lindsay Goodwin – Tea and Coffee: This collection of coffee cocktails includes Irish Coffee, as well as other easy recipes, like coffee-infused vodka, B-50 shots and the Chocolate Mocha-Tini. And whether or not you decide to spike this high-caffeine blended green tea latte, its brilliant green color is the perfect way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.
Carroll Pellegrinelli – Baking: Besides having an awesome name that just rolls off the tongue, Barm Brack, is the Irish version of a combination of fruit cake and Christmas Pudding. The fruit in this cake is soaked overnight in black tea prior to baking. Or if you're just looking for a green dessert for your St. Patty's day party, try this recipe for Pistachio Cake. It makes an unbelievably moist and tasty cake.
Stacy Slinkard - Wine: When St. Patty's day roles around, some local leprechauns may be looking to shake up their green beer traditions with a true Irish treasure – enter Mead. Look here for Mead Basics and Mead Recommendations.
Stephanie Gallagher - Kids Cooking: There is absolutely nothing authentic or Irish about this Watergate Salad, except its green color. This retro salad has been a favorite for parties and potlucks since the 1970s and will add a touch of whimsy to any St. Patrick's Day celebration. And this American version of Irish soda bread is sweet and cake-like. It makes a lovely companion to Irish stew or corned beef and cabbage.
Kevin Weeks - Cooking for Two: There is nothing more Irish than Guinness. Made using water from the Liffey River, it is one of the most famous beers (specifically a "stout") in the world. A staple of English (and Irish) pub fare is Steak and Guinness Pie, a wonderfully hearty meal on a cold and blustery March day. Be sure to buy an extra pint or two to wash down the pie. And check out this recipe for Corned Beef and Cabbage.