Folks all across the U.S. will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this week by wearing green, drinking beer, parading in the streets, and proudly proclaiming, “Kiss me, I’m Irish” - whether they’re really Irish or not.
They’ll do all these things, despite the fact that St. Patrick’s official color is pale blue (not green), pubs in Ireland were forced to close on March 17 for many years (to discourage revelers from getting drunk during Lent), St. Paddy’s Day parades originated in Colonial America (not in Ireland) and even St. Patrick, himself, was not Irish (he was born in Britain and was taken as a young boy to Ireland in the 4th century by raiders who held him captive there for six years).
Our family has been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day for nearly thirty years, now, with an equally nonsequitur tradition, something we call a “Leprechaun Lunch.” The menu varies from year to year, depending on the age and pickiness of my little eaters and my own current stage of pregnancy or post partum-ness, but the theme remains the same - everything’s green!
In the beginning, I served things like lime Jell-O, green olives, fried zucchini and clover-leaf cookies coated with green sugar sprinkles - not necessarily a well-balanced meal, I’ll admit.
Over the years, the fare we prepare has gotten decidedly more healthful, because I’m one of those fortunate moms whose kids actually like eating their vegetables.
Here’s a sampling of dishes we’ve served at our green-themed meal in the more recent past:
n white grapes
n Granny Smith apples
n kale salad
n sugar snap peas
n fresh green beans
n parmesan asparagus
n spinach wraps (made with hummus on green tortillas)
n split pea soup
n broccoli salad
n spinach quiche
n cucumber salad
n celery sticks (with/dill dressing)
n Brussels sprouts (Even I have learned to like these thanks to my daughter’s prodding)
One thing that hasn’t changed is what we drink with at our Leprechaun Lunch. I always serve up a big pitcher of “Paddy’s Punch.” To make it, just mix 1/2 gallon lime sherbet with a 2-liter bottle of ginger ale. (If that sounds too processed for you, try a green smoothie, instead.) Cheers!
Jennifer Flanders, who is both red-headed and Irish, loves to celebrate life at every opportunity. She shares ways to make every month more meaningful at www.flandersfamily.info .