I’m not Irish. There’s not even one drop of green blood flowing through my veins. People find that hard to believe, but I know who my ancestors were, and where they came from. Not Ireland. While I love my family and traditions, I’ve always felt a bit like an outsider looking in on a great party, one to which I didn’t receive an invitation.
I don’t look Irish. I look scary in Kelly green. If you heard me try to do an Irish brogue, you’d think I was imitating a pirate. At least that’s what I’ve been told.
That said, one of my best friends is Irish—her parents came here from Ireland, so they have that adorable lilt. I’m wearing a green shirt today (more sage than Kelly), I have corned beef simmering in the slow cooker and Irish soda bread cooling on the stove.
Every St. Patrick’s Day my mom made corned beef and cabbage. That was our St. Patrick’s celebration. It was not my favorite dinner. The meat was stringy and tasted weird to my taste buds. And it was served alongside my foe—boiled cabbage. Need I say more?
Being Sicilian, we would dress in red and celebrate St. Joseph’s Day on March 19th. It was more of a feast than a party, with a large table (or tables) set up with food—mostly fish-based. There was fish. And fish with pasta. And fish with breadcrumbs. And fish with lemons. It was a holiday of prayers, plays, and pasta with sardine sauce.
I longed to be Irish.
While I’m still not Irish, I’ve learned a few things along the way, including how to cook corned beef. First, it tastes good cooked in beer. Second, you should slice it against the grain. Third, it tastes great with a sweet glaze. Whether you slow cook your corned beef, roast it in the oven, or boil it on the stove, I highly suggest you finish it off with this glaze. It’s sweet and savory, and gets bubbly in the broiler. And if you do serve it with cabbage, don’t make the kids eat it.
Now I know that one day a year, everyone’s Irish. Enjoy St. Patrick’s Day today, whatever color your blood is!
Corned Beef Glaze
1/3 C. apricot jelly
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard (can be omitted for the mustard averse)
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
Preheat broiler. Mix ingredients together. Spread on cooked corned beef, and broil for a few minutes, or until glaze is bubbly (not more than five).
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