Good (Irish) Food

St. Patrick is one of the most commonly recognized patron saints of Ireland.

Legend has it that he was born in Wales in 415 AD, and was kidnapped by an Irish warlord when he was 16.  The young Maewyn Succat (his given name) spent 6 years as a slave in Ireland, during which time he embraced the Roman Catholic faith.  He ultimately escaped and found his way back to Britain, but once home he realized his calling was to spread his faith to the pagan Irish.  He studied to become a priest, assumed the name of Patrick, and then returned to the land of his imprisonment and spent the rest of his life preaching Christianity.

Today St. Patrick's Day is more of a celebration of Irish culture rather than the holy day of obligation that it once was, and it is typically celebrated with an abundance of food and ale (preferably Guinness; see more below).  No wonder there are St. Patrick's Day festivities all over the world.

If you are hosting a get-together for St. Paddy's day, you can't go wrong with this menu of delciously rich and (somewhat) Irish dishes:

Shredded Kale Salad
Beef Stew with Guinness Stout
Mashed Potatoes with Green Onions (Champ)
Chocolate Whiskey Tart


It's a Lovely Day for a Guinness

I had my first Guinness Draught in 2001.  I was in a Dublin pub with dear friends on the first night of a week-long holiday.  That night we ordered Guinness because it seemed the most appropriate way to start our adventure.  In the coming days we ordered Guinness because it was the best beer we'd ever had.  Perhaps it was the spell of being on the Emerald Isle, or the cold, wet weather that made the brew so appealing, but even now when I find Guinness on tap it's hard to resist, and understandably so.

Guinness is the most popular alcoholic beverage in Ireland and one of the most successful beer brands worldwide.  Specific instructions are given to bars and pubs on how to pour the perfect pint.  (It should take 119.53 seconds and should be done using the 'double pour' technique (hence the slogan "Good Things Come to Those Who Wait")).  It includes antioxidants that are considered beneficial to one's health (hence the slogan "Guinness is Good For You").  And despite being labeled "a meal in a glass", it actually has fewer calories than most other non-light beers.

And the taste?  It is full-bodied, yet creamy and smooth.  Some say it is reminiscent of caramel or coffee.  It is not a beer that you throw back to quench a thirst on a hot summer day.  It is a beer that you sip, preferably while enjoying a hearty pub-style meal such as the one in the menu above.  Cheers, mates!