A good roast with potatoes will hold you up on St. Patrick's Day


Come we now to St. Patrick’s Day, when rivers, revelers and beer go green, both literally and figuratively. “Erin go bragh!” and “Kiss me, I’m Irish!” cry the red-faced revelers who watch or march in the parades that Chicago, Boston and myriad other cities host. Athletic dancers step dance along the parade routes to the thrilling strains of pipe, flute and bodhran.

Sometime during the day’s celebration, we may tuck into a bowl of Irish stew or a plate of corned beef and cabbage, chased down perhaps with beer or a shot of Jameson.

That’s the way we do it here in the United States, anyway. It’s a funny way indeed to celebrate the saint’s day of the fourth-century Christian and patron of Ireland who is most commonly described as humble, pious and gentle.

St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland is now marked with revelry, but not on the scale that we see here in the States, says my friend David Roche, 27, of Waterford City in County Waterford on Ireland’s southeastern coast.

“We have parades for about 30 minutes at noon, and then it’s the pub for the rest of the day,” he says. “And a lot o’ the lads stick to the ‘must have Guinness on Paddy’s Day’ rule.”

No corned beef and cabbage, but “the standard Irish Sunday dinner” of roast lamb, beef or chicken with vegetables “done in with the roast” would be traditional for dinner, he says.

There will be lots of booths with street food and drinks in the streets, Roche says. And, after a lengthy visit in the pub, that street food will look appealing.

“Chips and battered sausages are a standby,” he says. “And a Madras curry with pilau rice, or half-and-half with rice and chips (potatoes) is good when you have to hold up that wall.”

Saints preserve us! It sounds as if we’re all lucky that St. Patrick’s Day is on a Friday this year.

Robin Mather is a freelance writer and editor, and the author of “The Feast Nearby,” a collection of essays and recipes from a year of eating locally on a budget.



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