It’s St. Patrick’s Day – a great excuse to drink green beer and feast on Irish food.   As if the beer enthusiasts or foodies (Irish or not) need an excuse!

It’s St. Patrick’s Day – a great excuse to drink green beer and feast on Irish food.   As if the beer enthusiasts or foodies (Irish or not) need an excuse!

It’s St. Patrick’s Day – a great excuse to drink green beer and feast on Irish food.   As if the beer enthusiasts or foodies (Irish or not) need an excuse!

Every year on March 17th, the feast of St. Patrick is celebrated around the world.  Not only is it a cultural and religious holiday honoring the death of St. Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland, but a great time to make a toast with your favorite brew and indulge in the unique and delicious tastes of the Irish.  A great trivia fact is that legends have it that tell St. Patrick was born in Great Britain and was kidnapped by pirates when he was 16 and held in captivity in Ireland. During his time in captivity is where he apparently found religion and started a Christian missionary.

St. Patrick celebrations have evolved through the years from parades, festival, wearing of the green, dying waterways green and Irish pub crawls offering green beer.  It typically does fall during the season of Lent and historically the Lenten restrictions around food and alcohol consumption – depending on the day of the week it falls – are lifted to encourage this holiday’s tradition of partaking in some great Irish whiskey, beer or cider.  All of which can be found and consumed locally.

I always thought that the luck of the Irish came in the form of a 4- leaf clover.  And I can tell you that I spent many summers in my younger days searching the grass and fields for the perfect one.  Now I have learned that the national symbol for the luck of the Irish is actually 3 leaf clover that represents the Holy Trinity.  Which in my mind is a bit of a contradiction, since 3 leaf clovers are much easier to find (in fact there are 10,000 3 leaf clovers for each 4 leaf ones) than grasping the mysteries of the Holy Trinity.

While Irish Bailey Cream is the most popular liqueur in the world – Guinness is not far behind.  It is said that on St. Patrick’s Day, over 13 million pints will be poured and enjoyed by the Irish and those who wannabes.  Spending on food and spirits alone are predicted to exceed 4.5 billion dollars.  That’s a whole lot of brews, whiskey and food!

Some of my family’s favorite foods include the traditional corned beef and hash – neither of which I have yet to perfect or develop a taste for.  On the other hand, I make an awesome Guinness Beef Stew – which is a little easier than my other go to Irish Shepherd’s Pie.  You cannot go wrong with either of these and considering the weather across the country, they may just hit the spot.  The secret about the stew and the pie is where they call for beef broth/stock  just substitute the Guinness.  It really does add a special taste – and of course beer makes anything better when you are cooking with it.  For those bakers out there, I have heard that adding vanilla (from Mexico) makes the bread that much better.

So Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you or Happy Maewyn Succat Day (which was St. Patrick’s birth name) and raise a glass of the green brew and I send my Cheers to you …“Slainte” in Celtic

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