At the beginning of last year, Gabe and I decided that St. Patty's Day was a "thing" for us, what with the whole falling-in-love-in-Ireland situation. Granted, he was in Iraq at the time, but it was my job to start the tradition of cooking a St. Patty's Feast every year.
I don't cook...ever. Just imagine the fear that swept though my body when I realized I'd invited nine people over for a dinner party.
But, I crammed those nine people into my 300 square foot apartment, all sitting around an 8ft folding table that just baaaarely fit in my itty bitty living room when laid from corner to corner. Thankfully, all my guests were family friends I'd know since birth or youth...so none were allowed to judge my cooking or my matchbox sized apartment.
(A little bit of frantic preparations.)
I kept the table decor pretty simple, a layer of burlap covered by a layer of green seersucker...quite obviously not ironed. You know, cause the Irish aren't fussy...or 'cause I was busy cooking an enormous slab of meat and wrinkles weren't top o' my list.
Three packages of mossy green rocks from the Dollar Store, mixed with a handful of gold coins and a few pillar candles made for an ultra easy $10 centerpiece. I snagged a handful of gold flatware and tied linen napkins with a paper doily and twine. Each place was set with a Guinness (just to get things started...) and a perfectly green Perrier.
The menu consisted of some real simple Irish favorites:
Mustard and Maple Glazed Corned Beef
Potatoes, Cabbage and Carrots
Irish Soda Bread
Irish Apple Cake
Irish Chocolate Cheesecake
Most of these recipes were dug out of out of a real, live Irish cookbook and while they frightened me at first I got the hang pretty quickly. Obviously Guinness and Irish coffee were drank like water. The corned beef is still being raved about, which blows my mind since I began with following a recipe but quickly diverged and added whatever I wanted.
Irish tunes were flowing and people stayed long after the sun went down...just gabbing and laughing. It was boiling hot in my apartment, we all reeked of corned beef and cabbage, but it was such a good time.
This year I was on the fence...whether to throw a larger party, or just invite my parents and sister over. But, I'm winding down to my last month or two here in Wisconsin and big bash was the only way to go! Big bash it is. And I can't wait.
Perhaps it's the Guinness, but there's something about Irish food and the Irish spirit that's absolutely contagious and I look forward to celebrating March 17th every year.
Do you do anything to celebrate St. Patty's Day?