Corned Beef And Cabbage(s)
We had our St. Patrick's Day dinner a day early. It wasn't any sort of Irish rebellion, it just happened that way.
I have tried cooking cabbage in the corned beef water for enough years to realize I just don't like boiled cabbage. It's okay, just not inspiring. So, this year, I went out on one of those other branches of the prolific Brassica family tree and served steamed Brussels sprouts, in effect, mini-cabbages, instead. They certainly adhered to the idea of the wearin' of the green.
In fact, they were perhaps a little too green - pretty, but a little too chewy for our taste. Should have sautéed them in butter to finish them, then they'd have been perfect.
Still for a simple meal, it wasn't half bad.
I think I was about 12 years old when I learned that I am half Irish. My mother came from a prominent New England family, Mayflower material with a President or two thrown in, so as kids we heard a lot about her line. We used to ask Dad about his lineage and he'd always laugh and say, "After they hung all the horse thieves and murderers, we've been a very pure line ever since." I'm not sure if he was embarrassed about his "lace curtain Irish" ancestors or if he really just didn't give a hoot, but it took my Irish grandmother coming to live with us before I learned about my heritage.
I was thrilled. I had fallen in love with Sean Connery while watching "Darby O'Gill and the Little People," so I loved dreaming that I might find a guy like him in my future. Of course, later I learned that he's actually Scottish, but for a few years I had some wonderful fantasies. A few years later, John Kennedy was running for President and once again I was glad of a shared heritage.
One of these days, I want to do what so many Irish Americans have done and visit Ireland. We know the towns from whence issued my four great-grandparents on that side, three in the south and one in Northern Ireland, and I'd like to see them all. One of my great-grandfathers went to Trinity College in Dublin, too, so I'd like to stop in there in his honor.
In the meantime, I enjoy wearing green each St. Patrick's Day and eating Irish-inspired goodies. Corned beef and cabbage(s) is a treat at least once a year.