So as it turns out, there are a lot of things that I didn’t know about St. Patrick’s day. Here are five facts about the Holiday that you might not know.
#1 St. Paddy’s v.s. St. Patty’s
In Ireland, Patty is short for Patricia and Paddy is short for Patrick, technically short for Pádraig, a variant of Patrick. I did know that Paddy is short for Patrick as this is my father-in-law’s name, but I didn’t think about it in relation to St. Patrick’s Day - which I’m sure I have referred to as St. Patty’s a millions times - probably right here on this site. Apparently, a few years back, the Dublin Airport even issued a statement regarding this in an attempt to banish the term St. Patty’s as a reference to March 17th festivities. I will try to remember this one and call it St. Paddy’s Day from here on out.
#2 St. Patrick
Do we even know what we are celebrating on St. Patrick’s Day? Green beer? I learned a little bit about St. Patrick just the other day from a friend. St. Patrick’s Day is cultural and religious holiday that takes place on the traditional death date of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. St. Patrick was thought to have used the three-leaf clover to explain the Holy Trinity to Irish pagans. St Patrick's Day parades began in North America in the 18th century and did not spread to Ireland until the 20th century. St. Patrick’s Day has been recognized as a national holiday in Ireland since 1903. Today, St. Patrick’s Day parades are held across the world. Paul and I even went to one in Japan when were were there in 2012.
So far as I can tell, these little fairies, who, as a part of Irish folklore, are usually found mending shoes and searching for the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, have nothing to do with St. Patrick’s Day, except of course that they are Irish.
#4 Corned Beef
So this one I knew. Corned beef is an Irish-American thing. Corned beef and cabbage is the Irish-American variant of the original Irish dish of bacon and cabbage. Some say that, in America, Irish immigrants weren’t able to obtain the cut of bacon used for boiling bacon which led to using cured brisket as a stand in. In New England, the proximity of Irish and Jewish communities may have led Irish immigrants to start using brisket, introduced to them by their Jewish neighbors, for this dish as it most closely approximated the taste and texture of Irish bacon.
#5 What do you do when March 17th falls on a Friday?
According to the archdiocese of Chicago, Chicago’s Irish-Catholics MAY eat corned beef today, as long as you substitute another form of penance. Whew. Just kidding. I made this corned beef on Wednesday so we could eat it before St. Patrick’s Day and again after since it’s even better a day or two later. It was my first time EVER making corned beef. And well, I didn’t really make it. I was planning on getting all of the ingredients to cure my own a couple of weeks ago but when I ran into our local market for a gallon of milk, the pre-cured ones were right there in front of me and I couldn’t help myself. Maybe next year I will cure my own, but this first time all I did was buy it, rinse it off and throw it in the slow cooker. It was GREAT.
Here’s how I made it.
Open the package of corned beef.
Rinse off the meat under cold running water.
Throw it in the slow cooker with enough water to go ½ to ⅔ the way up the sides of the meat.
Turn slow cooker on low for 7 hours.
At the 5 hour mark, turn the meat over and throw some cabbage, carrots and potatoes in with the brisket.
Once the timer goes off, remove and slice your corned beef.
Remove the vegetables from the pot leaving the cooking liquid.
Place your vegetables on a large serving platter and lay slices of corned beef on top.
Add 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard to the cooking liquid and boil the liquid for about 10 minutes until it is reduced slightly - tasting to make sure it’s not reducing too much (i.e. getting too salty).
Pour the cooking liquid over your meat and vegetables and serve.
Happy St. PADDY’s Day!!!