Posted by J.W.
I'm sure most Americans are somewhat familiar with St. Patrick, so I'm not going to get into his story, like I did with St.David of Wales, as the average American schoolchild has surely been told the story about St. Patrick driving the snakes from Ireland, whether they see it as a veiled reference to earlier pagan practices or not.
What I do want to talk about, is the food...corned beef and cabbage is not technically a native Irish dish, believe it or not. While salting beef to preserve it has always been a common practice, traditional corned beef came into common use from the culture of the ethnic neighborhoods of big American cities, like New York. In Ireland, it's only served to tourists.
Not surprising, given that the day itself is much bigger in America, a day to generally celebrate, and often the only acceptable day to celebrate a Caucasian heritage in a politically correct way.
In keeping with this, as well as convenience, my family usually makes Ruben Sandwiches on St. Patrick's day...a much more palatable approach to corned beef and cabbage, in my opinion. We serve it with colcannon on the side, a mixture of mashed potatoes, kale, and cabbage which is as nourishing as it is good. While often served at Halloween time in Ireland, the cold weather here in Idaho in March makes it a welcome addition to the table.
For more traditional Irish food, check out YourIrish.com. Their soda bread recipe is particularly good, especially with the addition of raisins or currants, and about a tablespoon of caraway seed.