St. Patrick’s Day

Anna Blake Patrick

Like most holidays, with St. Paddy’s Day comes food. But….what are we supposed to eat?

Since we’re all in tragic need of a holiday, especially one that brings good luck.. St. Patrick’s Day couldn’t have timed a better comeback.

St. Patrick’s Day has become a more celebrated holiday in the United States than in Ireland, its country of origin. Every year, Americans dress up in emerald green, wear big green leprechaun hats, drink green beer, and dye Chicago’s river bright green. These “Irish” traditions—fun and definitely green as they may be—didn’t actually originate in Ireland. 

Although St. Patrick’s Day became a party day for Americans in the twentieth century, the Irish celebration remained solemn and quiet. For the Irish, Saint Patrick’s Day represents the death of Patrick, patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. For many decades, Irish laws made it illegal for pubs to even open on holy days like March 17. However, once television came to Ireland, the Irish watched the American St. Paddy’s Day traditions and began to adopt mild versions of them, like starting an annual multi-day festival in Dublin.

So what do the Irish actually eat on Saint Patrick’s Day? Though there’s not a national meal during the holiday, see if you can guess which is traditional Irish fare, and which is not.

Anna Blake’s Ultimate Irish Food Quiz

A. Chicken and leek pie or B. Smashed potatoes

A. Haggis or B. Colcannon

A. Soda bread or B. Scones with Guinness

A. Toad in the hole or B. Shepherd’s pie

A. Bubble and Squeak or B. Apple cake

How did you do? Oh Begorrah, did you get them all right? 

This is not to say that corned beef and cabbage should be thrown out of your fridge—both are commonly eaten in Ireland and still commemorate Saint Patrick’s life—but to give you an idea of what’s really eaten in Ireland on the 17th. Maybe give some of these a try this year! Here’s a link to Bia Maith (meaning “good food” in Irish Gaelic), a website with some great traditional recipes:

Keep your tea strong, your butter pure, and have dinner for breakfast.

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig ort!