Saturday, March 17, 2012

What is St. Patricks Day or (Irish I Were Making this Up)

  Happy Saint Patrick's day.  Today is a day of celebration and feasting.  It's the one day of year where we wear green, get drunk, and binge on corned beef and cabbage.  Why?  Because it's Saint Patrick's day that's why. 
  "Yeah, but what does that have to do with wearing stupid plastic hats and beer?"  you might ask.
  "It's an Irish thing, they drink and eat."  I might say back. 
  "Isn't that racial stereotype?"  You might ask again.
  *BURP*  I might respond before passing out into my bowl of corned beef and cabbage.

    After I regained consciousness I began to think about my fictitious conversation.  What exactly is St. Patrick's day?  You are in luck.  I have done a little research on the matter.  What comes to mind when you think of Saint Patrick's day?

    Ireland:  Saint Patrick did have something to do with Ireland.  But not in the way you might think.  He was actually born in Roman Britain (Like regular Britain but with Togas I think) around the fourth century.  At the age of sixteen he was kidnapped by Irish slave traders (and you thought slavery was something that only happened in America, but that's another blog).  That night Patrick (He wasn't a saint yet) had a dream.  God told him to flee his captors.  I'm not sure if I needed God to tell me I needed to get the hell out of dodge.  He fled.  Then in the year 432 God told him to go back.  "Really?"  said Patrick.  "I gotta go back?  There is no way in he.." *THUNDER CLAP* "-I am going back without my toothbrush." He finished with an added nervous chuckle.  So he returned to Ireland as a Bishop.  He came to do two things, convert the Pagans and chew bubble gum (and bubble gum hasn't been invented yet).

Four Leaf Clovers:  Ok, normally clovers have three leaves.  Only the mutants have a fourth leaf.  It's like the X-Men, but clover style.  I'm still waiting for a clover with metal claws.   Some stories tell how Bishop Patrick used the clover to explain the Holy Trinity (that chick from the Matrix after she got shot). No, I mean the son, the father and the holy spirit.

Getting Drunk:  Ok, take an average American.  Tell him that today is a holiday such as Christmas, New Years eve, Thanksgiving, or Presidents day.  What is he or she going to do?  Drink.  Alcohol has been a way of celebrating for thousands of years.  I think the reason beer is so popular on St. Patricks day has more to do with clever marketing. Sort of like Valentines day cards.  Turn on the radio, open a newspaper, or drive by a bar and you'll see suggestive advertising that makes St. Patrick's day and beer go together like corned beef and cabbage.

Wearing Green:  Originally blue was the celebratory color.  Over the centuries it became green.  The wearing of green usually refers to wearing a shamrock (clover).  In Ireland not many people wear green.   Again Americans say things like "Hey, what do we know of Ireland?"  and they answer with "Uh, there's green in their flag, the grass is green, and money is green. "

Corned Beef and Cabbage:  As much as it pains me to say, corned beef and cabbage is actually American.  It doesn't mean you have to stop eating it. It's delicious.  However, I did find a traditional St. Patrick's meal from Ireland and it looks equally as delicious.  Irish Bacon and Cabbage.  What is Irish bacon you ask?  It's bacon that God personally created to show that he loves us.  Ok, it's a thick cut bacon that comes from the juicy back of the pig.   Unlike regular bacon that comes from the belly, Irish bacon isn't meant to be crisped but used more like Canadian bacon. 

  Recipe: Irish Bacon and Cabbage
2 Pounds of Irish Streaky bacon
1 Fresh white cabbage
1 onion
black pepper
1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
½ tablespoon brown sugar

Directions:  Soak the bacon in cold water for 12 hours. Place in saucepan and cover well with fresh cold water. Bring slowly to the boil and simmer gently for 1 ½ hours. You know it is cooked when the bone slides out easily. Leave the bacon in the water to set.

Cut cabbage into quarters wash well and remove the tough stalks. Place cabbage into a pan of boiling water. (If you place a skinned onion in the pan as well it will counteract the smell of the cabbage) boil fast for 5 minutes. Add 2-3 cupfuls of the water that you boiled the bacon in. this will salt the cabbage and give it a lovely bacon flavor. Cook until cabbage is tender. Drain well and season with black pepper.

Skin the bacon and cover with the breadcrumbs and stud with the cloves. Brown in the oven and serve sliced on a bed of cabbage. Serve with potatoes boiled in their skins.
  If you try this recipe please invite me over.  I am a big fan of eating. 

What if I Fast or Stop Eating Meat During Lent?
The Pope says that's ok.  Since it's in celebration of a patron saint, meat can be enjoyed if St. Patricks day falls on a Friday.  (It's good to be the pope)

  There you have it.  Yeeeah!!!  You just got learned!   I'm not saying you have to change the way you celebrate St. Patricks day. You don't need to start wearing blue plastic hats or attend church services.  Just think about why you're celebrating it.  Just like Easter or Christmas, St. Patricks day is a holiday( Holy Day).  It celebrates the life of a Patron Saint.   St. Patrick died in 461 AD on Marth 17th.  While there have been many successful evangelical missionaries in Ireland, St. Patrick is one of the most well known survivors.  Perhaps he deserves a bit more respect than passing out in our own vomit while wearing a stupid plastic hat.   How do you celebrate St. Patricks day?  I am interested in hearing your stories.  Please comment or Email me.

P.S.  Here is a picture of a mutant clover.


Fractal Art by Vicky Brago-Mitchell

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