Monday, March 14, 2011

Shmadition your Tradition

Oh Hi, Jameson bead sitting in my purse that was from last Saturday night, I'll be saving you for this Thursday- for the real St. Patrick's Day.

Going down memory lane this morning I remembered my spring break freshman year in college. Awesome. About 4 of us went to a St. Patrick's Day parade in New Orleans (lower 9th, Chalmette- Chalmation Nation). Never experiencing a form of Mardi Gras at that age, this experience felt similar to what it was like. Oh, they threw beads and also: cabbage, carrots, potatoes. Have you ever had someone chunk a cabbage at you? What a thrill.

Our collection- soon to be made into stew

So many beads + whatever else they threw and we caught

Thinking of all the good times I've had (and will have) with St. Pats inspired me to write a story to help promote our cookbook, Square Table. Cheers!


Tradition – Shmadition, as Long as it’s a Celebration
How to be Meatless on the Greenest Day of the Year

            I’ve recently challenged myself by becoming a vegetarian, but just for the span of the next 40 days. St. Patrick’s Day is my dilemma because it just doesn’t seem like March 17th without corned beef and cabbage. Then I got to thinking about it, what made corned beef and cabbage popular anyway? How does one eat cabbage without corned beef? Why would someone want to eat cabbage?
            Well, for one, the corned beef and cabbage is an Americanized version of the St. Patrick’s Day meal. Brief history lesson: corned beef was made popular in New York bars by being offered as a “free lunch” to Irish construction workers who were building NYC in the early 20th century. To get this “free lunch” you had to buy a couple of beers or shots of whiskey. That’s how corned beef became known as an ‘Irish’ food.
            Since corned beef and cabbage is now this staple to Americanized-St. Patty’s, it still feels necessary to at least eat some cabbage. The only trusted cabbage recipes, that I would use, come from community cookbooks. Sure, you can look online at cabbage recipes, but are they National Tabasco award winning approved? Negative. However, Square Table Cookbook is, and they’ve got a smashing Red Cabbage Casserole that’s beyond easy to make and could double as a wonderful accompaniment to corned beef.
            Still not convinced? Here’s why cabbage is a great idea: cabbage, like citrus fruit, is a very high source of vitamin C. It’s also high in fiber, other vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and good for weight loss. So if you do decide to be classy and body paint yourself green while consuming massive amounts of green whatnot, maybe you won’t necessarily feel like you were BFF’s with the green fairy the night before.
            Green fairy friend-ed or not, red cabbage casserole is always a great idea on St. Patrick’s Day.

Red Cabbage Casserole
(Makes 6 servings)

1 medium red cabbage, shredded
1 small onion, chopped
3 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except butter. Place in a large buttered casserole. Dot with butter. Cover and bake 2 hours.
*Permission to use the Red Cabbage Casserole recipe granted by the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council. Square Table Cookbook is a community cookbook and a fundraiser for the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council and can be ordered on their website

Happy St. Patrick's Day
March 2007

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