corned beef

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

People always ask me if I’m excited for St. Patrick’s Day. Um… not really. I’m not Irish. I dislike beer, and I can’t STAND boiled dinner. But for those of you who enjoy this holiday, I wish you well – and here’s a classic boiled dinner recipe from the 1950 Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook to prove it. Love that it’s “New England” boiled dinner. Not “Irish.” Yet still part of the holiday tradition.

From the 1950 Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook.

From the 1950 Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook.

I love that Ms. Crocker does not advise WHICH herbs and seasonings to add. Choose at your own discretion. Also, “remove scum” is excellent advice in general, not just during cooking.

I raise a glass of the finest Irish whiskey to you, as that is the only way I will be able to choke down that nasty flaccid cabbage.

Boiled dinner recipe

St. Patrick’s Day preview

On St. Patrick’s Day people always ask me, “Where’s your green?” They typically follow with a statement like, “With that red hair, you must be Irish.” (We’ve already established that I am not a natural redhead. Judas Iscariot was a redhead. No one assumes he was Irish.)

I am not Irish. I don’t drink beer. And I HATE boiled dinner.

Boiled dinner isn’t even strictly Irish.

Boiled dinner recipe

Betty Crocker says it's New England Boiled Dinner. Trust Betty.

In my 1950 first edition Betty Crocker picture cookbook, boiled dinner is clearly identified as a New England phenomenon. NEW ENGLAND boiled dinner. Not Irish. (Despite my lifelong New England residency, I STILL hate boiled dinner. Boiling cooks all the flavor out of things and kills the texture, as far as I’m concerned. I know many people beg to differ. That’s your right. Let’s just agree to disagree on this.)

When my husband was in college, he lived with two Irishmen: Michael and Kevin, both from Dundalk. When Tim tried to surprise them with a traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal, their response? “What the hell are you doing? We don’t eat that–we eat boiled dinner like once a year.”  Yes, St. Patrick’s Day is a bank holiday in Ireland and the source of much merrymaking. But corned beef and cabbage do not appear to be a crucial ingredient in the festivities. Tim did not encounter boiled dinner at all during his trip to Ireland. Does this make us experts? No. Just skeptical.

So we’re celebrating in our own way, with smoked corned beef and roasted vegetables. While Tim will probably still boil up some corned beef and cabbage for our guests who prefer it that way, I’m thrilled at the prosepct of smoked corned beef. Delicious.

I’m also excited about our friend Lisa’s Irish Car Bomb cupcakes, based off a recipe she found on Pinterest. I’m definitely a fan of Irish whiskey.

While our celebration may not be the traditional one, we’ll still have good food and great company – the most important parts of any special occasion. Have a happy St. Patrick’s Day. However you choose to celebrate.