What to eat on St. Patrick’s Day?

This ^^^ is what I am eating on St. Patrick’s Day! Mine was braised in the oven yesterday on low heat, and it’s not the traditional favorite, accompanied by root veggies and cabbage. My mother called that a “boiled dinner”, and she also made it with ham, as well as corned beef. I think I will serve mine with asparagus, and maybe I’ll ‘cheat’ and have a small baked potato!

There are many dishes that the Irish eat which I enjoyed as a child growing up, even though we never considered them to be Irish. Most of them contained potatoes in some form or another. Potatoes and beets. Potatoes and beets and corned beef (red flannel hash). Potatoes and cabbage and/or onions (colcannon). Potatoes are probably my favorite food. Did you ever wonder what the Irish ate before they had potatoes which, after all, came from the New World? I ran across this article from Bon Appetit, and it’s very interesting.

What the Irish Ate Before Potatoes

What was Irish food like for the 1500 years between Patrick and potatoes?

The short answer is: milky. Every account of what Irish people ate, from the pre-Christian Celts up through the 16th-century anti-British freedom fighters, revolves around dairy. The island’s green pastures gave rise to a culture that was fiercely proud of its cows (one of the main genres of Ancient Irish epics is entirely about violent cattle rustling), and a cuisine that revolved around banbidh, or “white foods.”

There was drinking milk, and buttermilk, and fresh curds, and old curds, and something called “real curds,” and whey mixed with water to make a refreshing sour drink. In 1690, one British visitor to Ireland noted that the natives ate and drank milk “above twenty several sorts of ways and what is strangest for the most part love it best when sourest.” He was referring to bainne clabair, which translates as “thick milk,” and was probably somewhere between just straight-up old milk and sour cream. And in the 12th century, a satirical monk (this is Ireland, after all), wrote a fake “vision” in which he traveled to the paradise of the Land of Food, where he saw a delicious drink made up of “very thick milk, of milk not too thick, of milk of long thickness, of milk of medium thickness, of yellow bubbling milk, the swallowing of which needs chewing.” And many British tacticians, sending home notes on how best to suppress local rebellions, noted that the majority of the population lived all summer on their cows’ milk, so the best way to starve out the enemy would just be to kill all the cows.

Read the rest of the article. It’s interesting, particularly if you enjoy cooking. They go on to say that the Irish eat more butter per capita than anywhere else. The other thing the Irish subsisted on in ancient times was grains (bread and porridge), particularly oats, as in griddled oat cakes. Apparently Irish Soda Bread didn’t show up until the 1800’s.

I won’t be making soda bread this week, because I am currently following a low carb diet. If you are interested, here’s a recipe to try; they say it’s very traditional:

450 grams all-purpose flour (about 3 1/2 cups)
3 grams fine sea salt (about 1/2 teaspoon)
4 grams baking soda (about 3/4 teaspoon)
1 ½ cups buttermilk, more as needed


Heat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking soda. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk. Using your hand, mix in the flour from the sides of the bowl. The dough should be soft but not wet and sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface. Wash and dry your hands. Knead the dough lightly for a few seconds, then pat the dough into a round about 1 1/2 inches thick. Place it on a buttered baking sheet and using a sharp knife, cut a deep cross in the center of the dough reaching out all the way to the sides.

Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees, and continue to bake until the top is golden brown and the bottom of the bread sounds hollow when tapped, about 30 minutes longer. Serve warm.

Finally, here’s a cocktail/dessert to sip in honor of the day! I won’t be having this either. Maybe a small glass of dry white wine instead.

Guinness Floats with Whiskey Whipped Cream

1/2 cup cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons Irish whiskey, plus more to taste
2 teaspoons sugar
2 cups vanilla, chocolate or coffee ice cream
1 12-ounce bottle Guinness or other stout, chilled


Combine the heavy cream, whiskey and sugar in a bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. Taste it, then fold in more whiskey if you want!

Divide the ice cream between 2 chilled glasses, then very slowly pour the Guinness into each. (Be careful — it will bubble over if you pour too fast!) Serve with the whiskey whipped cream.

So many Irish treats, so little time! What is your favorite?

This entry was posted in History, Holidays, Recipes, The Culture, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to What to eat on St. Patrick’s Day?

  1. Menagerie says:

    Here’s one of my favorite Irish themed recipes. Too bad I gave up sweets for Lent! When it says to add a “few short glugs of Bailey’s and a tiny bit of Jameson” in the icing, yeah…I don’t pay attention to that at all. More is better!

    Actually, this is a rich, moist, and delicious cupcake. With Guinness, Bailey’s, and Jameson how could you not like it? Just make sure you have enough of the beverages for you and the recipe.

    Happy St. Pat’s to you all tomorrow.


    Liked by 2 people

  2. Menagerie says:

    Also, one of my old stand by recipes. It’s especially good with a rich stew or soup, or a roast beef. I think it would go very well with corned beef as well as shepherd’s or cottage pie.

    3 cups self rising flour, 2tbs brown sugar, 2 tbs melted butter, one Guinness. Mix all, reserving half the butter to drizzle on top before baking. Cook at 375 until done, probably about 40-45 minutes.

    A tasty and aromatic bread that could not be easier to make. When I’m having it with something like chicken I’ll often use an ale like Blue Moon instead of the Guinness for a milder bread.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. weather257 says:

    You made me remember my mother’s Shepherd’s Pie, which she made with leftover roast lamb using her hand grinder. Here’s a good recipe and a good explanation of the difference between shepherd’s and cottage pie:

    Liked by 2 people

    • weather257 says:

      I have to add there is waaaaay too much salt in this recipe. Too much salt is especially harmful to cardio, as it retains water. Many BP meds actually help rid the blood of water.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. czarina33 says:

    Alternate to traditional foods

    Corned Beef Casserole
    Cook one package of egg noodles, drain. Meanwhile, shred 1 can of corned beef, mix with a cup of cubed velveeta-type cheese, a can of cream of mushroom soup, and refil the soup can with milk. Add a diced or chopped onion. Stir into the noodles, then turn out into a casserole dish. Bake in the oven at 350* or microwave til cheese is melted throughout.

    Red Flannel Hash
    Cook a bag of frozen Potatoes O’Brien per directions. Stir in a shredded can of corned beef and cook til warmed.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Stella says:

    Since I am eating a low carb diet, this is the casserole I will make with my leftover corned beef:

    1 pound Deli Corn Beef-chopped (or leftover or canned)
    1 Cup Sauerkraut-drained
    2 Cups Shredded Swiss cheese

    ½ Cup Mayonnaise
    4 Tablespoons Ketchup (sugar free for keto)
    2 Tablespoons Minced white onion
    2 teaspoon Granular Sweetener (I’m using Monkfruit sweetener)
    2 teaspoon Dill Pickle Relish
    2 teaspoon White vinegar

    Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
    In a small mixing bowl, combine the mayo, ketchup, onion, sweetener, pickle relish and vinegar. Set aside.
    Spray the inside of a 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray. Spread the corned beef in the bottom of the dish.
    Spread the drained saurkraut evenly on top of the corned beef, followed by the sauce, and finally the shredded cheese.
    Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
    Servings: 6

    Liked by 1 person

  6. texan59 says:

    I gained 10 pounds just reading all this……………..

    Liked by 2 people

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