A History Lesson: St. Patrick is the most recognized patron saint of Ireland, a British Roman, formerly captured and brought to Ireland as a slave, he escaped and later returned to Ireland as a Christian Bishop spreading the good word. Today, we recognize St. Patrick’s Day as a celebration of Irish culture and probably one of the most celebrated of all the saint’s days in the world. It is a day of commemorating Christianity coming to Ireland and is marked by feasts, the wearing of green and a lively excuse to party!
My family, having Irish decent, most notably by the names of McIntee and Murphy, join me in a dinner celebration every St. Patrick’s Day. After years of serving the traditional corned beef and cabbage, I am trying to mix it up, stretch my culinary skills, and keep it interesting. St. Patrick’s Day isn’t just about soda bread like all the cooking magazines like to push at you. I’ve read too many articles about traditional Irish soda bread usually portraying some elderly, apron-wearing, Irish woman who lost her smile standing in her lonely kitchen with a sad bowl in front of her that looks to be bread dough. C’mon. Not interesting! What is interesting is exploring the culinary world around you.
This St. Patrick’s day I took a trip to a local restaurant in Bellingham, Washington known interestingly enough as “Man Pies“. No kidding. This is the place where they sell pasties, which looked lovely and meat pies which strongly resemble shepherd’s pie. Bryce (pictured above), the fellow I met who works behind the counter, proudly informed me that it took them two weeks to prepare the beef for the corned beef pie.
For my Irish family gathering, I bought six personal meat pies for dinner and he talked me into dessert too. One mini lapin cherry almond Frangipagne, a mini cherry almond pie, a slice of chocolate buttercream layer cake, a slice of vanilla buttercream layer cake, and a mini shortbread apple pie. What can I say, I love dessert. I also love to cook, but sometimes, you just have to go out and explore the world around you because it just might fill you with delight, inspiration and you get to meet new people who love food and culture as much as you do. Dinner was served AND devoured!