Sunday, March 13, 2011

2011 St. Patricks Day - Not like any other for me

Last year, I pulled out all the stops and put on an amazing St. Patricks Day dinner.  I brined my own beef brisket, cooked it up with potatoes and cabbage and made my favorite bread pudding recipe for desert.  I love brining my own Corned Beef, it's far superior to anything you can buy, and you can skip the nitrates.  But, this year is a whole different situation.  I have since left my married life and I'm living as a single mom off and on as I share custody with my ex.  A full corned beef would be a crazy amount of food for me and my girls.  But I figured, what the heck - plenty of sandwiches later.  But, the economy being what it is, and the divorce doing what it has to my own personal economy, I can't justify buying an entire brisket to corn when I have just $60 to make it to the next paycheck.  So what to do.

I decide, while I'm feeling sorry for myself, to pick up one of my favorite books, in the spirit of St. Patrick's Day.  Angela's Ashes.  Frank McCourt's memoir of his extremely challenging and poor childhood in Ireland and the U.S.  This book always makes me feel grateful for what I have, and points out to me the hell that human beings can survive.  After re-reading the part in chapter three about Frank's mother, Angela, managing to get a pig's head for Christmas dinner.  That's all they could afford, and they were lucky to get it.  To top it off, there isn't enough coal to cook the pig's head, and the boys and their father have to go out on the streets to scrounge for coal to get their Christmas dinner cooked.  I won't even begin to go into the hell that their living conditions were.  I will just say, that's enough to make me stop whining about not being able to have corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick's Day. 

So - I decide to thoroughly go through my pantry and figure out just what we can have for St. Patrick's dinner - I have managed to find 6 lamb chops left from the 4-H sheep Cordelia raised a couple of years ago, and I decided to take with me when I left my married life - tightly wrapped, and due to be used.  There are 3 potatoes in the bottom of my fridge needing to be boiled up and mashed up with some butter and milk, and, hello!  A bag of frozen peas in the back of my freezer.  Voila!  St. Patrick's day dinner is good to go, and I'm counting my blessings!  Lamb chops!  Yum! 

Hmmm - and desert?  I know apple pie doesn't sound Irish - it's all American right?  Well, apples were a big part of the Celtic diet, and I already have the apples sliced and frozen in my freezer.  I just need to make a pie crust, put the apples in it with sugar, butter, cinnamon and a little lemon zest, all of which I have on hand, bake it, and we have a traditional Irish desert for St. Patrick's day. 

Hopefully I'll pull of of this off, and hopefully everyone else out there will have a wonderful, nourishing, and plentiful St. Patrick's Day. 

'Beannachtam na Feile Padraig!'
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

P.S. - when the money situation lightens up a bit, I still plan to corn that brisket and have myself a belated St. Patrick's Day dinner. 


Maureen said...

I think that sounds like a terrific meal even if you scrounged it from what you had on hand. We've all been there and truthfully, cleaning out the freezer from time to time keeps us from tossing it all away.

After a divorce is never easy on any of you. I wish I could give you a cuddle and say you'll look back on this in the future and think these were fantastic times learning who you are as a woman, a mother and a friend.

Kim said...

Thank you Maureen. Thank you for stopping by my blog and for the kind and encouraging words. They're much appreciated.