St. Patrick’s Day is tomorrow, and not just in Savannah!
Time to break out the green clothing, paint little shamrocks on your cheeks, practice your Irish accent and jig and partake of tasty Irish libations.
Let’s see, off the top of my head, those would include Irish coffee, Jameson whiskey, Guinness beer, Bailey’s Irish Cream and Poitin (their version of Moonshine). One at a time, of course, and not if you’re driving.
St. Patrick’s Day is special for me beyond the traditional celebration of the man heralded for converting former Irish pagans to Catholicism. In a roundabout way, my mom actually named me after St. Patrick.
My parents left Cuba in the mid-1950s amid the chaos, turmoil and struggles of then-dictator Fulgencio Batista and then the man who eventually overthrew him, Fidel Castro.
My parents arrived in America, went to school, learned English, got jobs, became citizens and settled into life as usual within a few years. My mom’s birthdate happens to be March 17.
That particular date doesn’t hold the same time-to-party-’til-you-forget-your-name vibe in Cuba as it does here — at least not during the years they were there. It wasn’t celebrated.
Heck, the first full-blown dance-in-the-streets, get-wild St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Cuba that I know of was held in 2009.
My parents decided that if they were going to have kids, they would give them American names. My older brother, Frank, came from Americanizing my dad’s middle name Francisco (yep, another saint, Francis of Assisi) to Frank.
My dad’s first name, Ibrahin, is Spanish for … wait for it … another saint, Abraham.
Because her birthdate held such grand regard in the American scheme of things, mom decided that if she ever had a daughter she would name her after San Patricio (as he is known in Spanish) — hence my name, Patricia.
So in addition to celebrating the typical St. Patty’s Day fare, I celebrate my mom’s birthday (like I needed another reason to offer up a whiskey toast).
When it comes to food, I am always down for some corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie (with lamb not ground beef) or Irish stew (again with lamb, as that is more traditional). Then, of course, I can always jazz that up with some bangers and mash and, lastly, Dublin coddle.
What the heck is coddle, you ask? It’s a glorious pot of stuff, usually typical leftovers, melded together and is primarily loaded with one pound of — BACON!
But let’s face it. I’m all about the booze for St. Patrick’s Day.
By the way, my middle name is Jane. What’s the big deal with that, you ask?
My birthdate is June 24, which is the day of St. John the Baptist. In Spanish, his name is Juan, with the female version translated to Juana, which in English is — Jane!
So my advice to future parents is to make sure you don’t name your child after two different patron saints. You might end up with a booze-loving, food-devouring sinner instead.
So here is a funny Irish toast to get your festivities started.
May your glass be ever full, may the roof over your head be always strong, and may you be in heaven two hours before the devil knows you’re dead.
1.5 ounces of Jameson whiskey
1 ounce of brown sugar syrup
Hot brewed coffee
Add the whiskey and syrup to a tall coffee glass and fill two-thirds of the way with coffee. For an added kick, add 1 ounce of Bailey’s Irish cream. Top with whipped cream and enjoy.
Jameson Black Barrel Irish Rose
2 shots of Jameson Black Barrel
A third of a shot of lemon juice and grenadine
1 egg white
Combine the ingredients in a shaker, add ice and shake vigorously. Strain and serve in a cocktail glass.
4 half-pound potatoes, peeled
1 pound of quality pork sausage
1 pound of thick cut bacon
2 large onions, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 pint of boiling water
1 beef cube stock
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. While the oven is preheating, cut potatoes into large, even chunks. Grill the sausage and bacon to brown but keep them moist, not dry. Chop them into bite-sized pieces. Drop the beef cube into the pint of water and bring to a boil.
Using a casserole dish with a tight lid, start to layer the onions, bacon, sausage and potatoes. Season each layer with pepper and parsley. Once all the ingredients are layered, pour the boiling water over the top and place the casserole dish on the stop. Bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat, cover the dish and place in the oven. Leave it in there for three hours. After two hours, start to check the liquid levels, adding more water if needed to maintain at least an inch of water at the bottom of the pot.