by Kate Heyhoe
Even if you're Muslim, Buddhist, or atheist, you'll likely be touched by one of these three March holidays: Easter, St. Patrick's Day or Passover.
You may be invited to a holiday meal, or you may simply want to join in on the good buys this month, aimed at driving holiday cooks into stores for basket loads of lamb, ham, potatoes, asparagus, salmon and other festive foods—all fresh and on sale.
This month I show you how to take advantage of the first taste of spring's bounty, creating menus for holiday observances or just for the joy of feasting. I jump first into St. Patrick's Day, followed by a quick stop to the comforting world of Potato Pancakes, with green variations for St. Paddy's and luscious latkes for Passover. The last half of March brings the Essential Buffets for Easter and Passover, and I wrap up the month with Easter Egg Fun, and ideas for using up all those hard-cooked eggs the Easter Bunny brought.
"May you be in heaven one-half hour before the devil knows you're dead." "May your troubles be as few and as far apart as my Grandmothers teeth." "May the roof above us never fall in, and may we friends gathered below never fall out." —traditional Irish toasts
Gather your friends under one roof and raise a glass to St. Patrick!
People of Irish descent celebrate their heritage and pay homage to St. Patrick, the patron saint of the Emerald Isle, on March 17th, the day the saint died in the year 461 AD. The holiday is now more of a secular one, with shamrocks and little leprechauns adorning offices and homes, but if you want to celebrate St. Patrick's Day properly, do it with a traditional Irish feast—not bloody green bagels or green-tinted beers.
Authentic Irish recipes can be hard to find, but the Irish Heritage Cookbook contains the perfect assortment of true Irish meals, and shows how the Irish respect for simplicity has created a true cuisine all its own—one that reveres its native produce, farm raised meats, handmade cheeses and fresh-caught fish. The traditional dishes of Colcannon and Corned Beef certainly all appear, but what makes this volume special are the ways these and other recipes have been updated, without compromising their essential Irish soul. Over the past decade, Irish sons and daughters have trained at world-class cooking schools with master chefs and have returned to Ireland to reinvent their homeland's food traditions to current tastes. Many of their recipes are contained this volume, which will appeal to Irish and non-Irish cooks alike.
For an authentic Irish feast, culled from Margaret Johnson's The Irish Heritage Cookbook, I suggest you begin with the following menu, complementing it with a salad of tender spring greens and lusty Irish cheese.
The Irish Heritage Cookbook
By Margaret M. Johnson
Publication date: March 1999
Recipe reprinted by permission.
Copyright © 1999, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page created March 1999
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