Today embarks on another St. Patrick's Day. Looking back, I have thrown some epic dinners. But the first still makes me smile, in my apartment with a few friends. It started a journey and a promise to myself to keep family traditions alive. As the years have gone by, each year adds something a little different. Be it a location, menu item, different guests, or different themes.
This year the focus is the Irish American movement. When our grandparents (some great and great great) came to America, they came looking for a better life. They brought with them a culture that evolved into Irish American culture of the USA as we know it today.
The views of the non-Irish seem to think that our families do nothing else but drink, swear, fight and recite poetry. Some days that may be true, but like an onion, we have more layers than that.
Another is that most Americans don't know that corned beef is not irish at all (100% American) or that true soda bread is as simple as 4 ingredients.
American ignorance (naive ignorance) to only accept the surface without research and looking deeper has led to people losing sight and remembrances of the struggles of those that came before us. They didn't have fancy clothes, boats, mcmansion homes or white collar jobs. Most of our ancestors who emigrated from Ireland were dirt poor and they fought to survive on pitiful wages by doing whatever they must. Fact of the matter, today we live like kings and queens compared to our great grandparents.
So with all of that being said, I am proud of my heritage, of those who try every day to be a good person, give a smile to others, welcome all, and embrace the diversity that America has to offer.
We celebrate today and all days my Irish-American values, give thanks to those that came before and give hope to those that will come after.
My Irish-American values:
1. Everyone is welcome so long as they are kind and respectful;
2. Let there always be enough good food to share
3. Family should be forgiven (may not forget transgressions, but in the end we forgive); f
4. Friends are like clovers, you can have many, but the 4 leaf kind are special;
5. Faith is personal and this world has fought too long over it, so if you can't agree to disagree, don't discuss it in my home.
Oh, and my menu today:
Irish cheese and crackers
Guinness pretzels and Guinness honey mustard
Irish sausage rolls
Roasted beets and carrots
Boiled carrots and cabbage (ode to the one pot Irish)
Traditional soda bread
Homemade irish cream
Happy St. Patrick's day!