While many Brentwood residents will honor St. Patrick on March 17, few know who Patrick was or why he's a saint.
It was St. Patrick who made the Irish the good Christians they are now, according to Irish-born Rev. Donal Keohane of on Sunset Boulevard.
“St. Patrick is the patron saint who came to Ireland in 432, as far as scholars know. He was instrumental in converting the Irish to Christianity,” Keohane told Patch.
While most Americans do not participate in the religious aspect of the holiday it’s still considered a day of religious observance by the Irish, the priest said.
“With the diaspora of the Irish going all over the world from 1800 on, especially between 1840 and 1850 and during the famine, millions of Irish went abroad and still celebrated because it is a holy day. Now it has become more secularized around the world but still remains a religious holiday in Ireland.”
In addition to honoring Ireland’s picturesque scenery and one of the colors on the flag, the popularization of the color green originated from a historical occurrence.
During the Irish Rebellion of 1798, Irish soldiers who sought to make a political statement by garnering notoriety through their attire “wore shamrocks on solid green uniforms to better distinguish themselves,” Keohane added.
Wearing green became routine at St. Patrick’s Day parades held early on in New York City and Boston, where many Irish immigrated and ultimately settled. This proved to the masses that the Irish possessed a strong presence and would not be treated as a part of the lower class.
Synonymous with St. Paddy’s Day is the ubiquitous presence of symbols such as shamrocks and leprechauns.
Shamrocks, which Keohane described as “tiny little leaves with three leaflets that measure about 3/8’’ in diameter,” are often confused with the similarly shaped four-leaf clover. While the clover represents good luck, the shamrock pays homage to the Holy Trinity.
“The story goes that St. Patrick was preaching in Ireland about the scriptures of the Holy Trinity, and he reminded on-lookers that like the Holy Trinity that exists as three separate people but combines as one Holy Trinity, a shamrock has three leaves but combines as one shamrock. It’s an analogy,” Keohane continued.
However, in the case of leprechauns, Keohane explained that their presence was limited as a young man growing up in Ireland.
“Some of the tradition was there, and certainly there may be more today, but it was no big deal. You didn’t see a lot of the leprechaun illustrations, pictures, and souvenirs in Ireland,” Keohane said of the folklore fairies. “They’re more popular here in America.”
Keohane is also unsure how Ireland became associated with what is now considered traditional fare, corned beef and cabbage.
“Corned beef and cabbage is not a big diet in Ireland at all, but it was everywhere in the days before refrigeration, as salted meat was a very common method to preserve food. Americans particularly think we eat a lot of it, but we rarely used to eat pickled meat in Ireland. I don’t know how the Irish got the credit.”
St. Patrick’s Day is commonly associated with drinking alcohol (your party hopping guide is !), which Keohane declared as serving no purpose other than to enhance the party.
For those who wonder why excessive drinking would take place on a historically religious holiday, Keohane insisted it’s simply a part of a grand tradition.
“Certainly, the religious significance is not at all in the minds of most people on St. Patrick’s Day, especially in America. Drinking goes with all festivities whether it’s Mardi Gras or Thanksgiving. You don’t celebrate unless you have a drink, and there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as it’s not abused.”
Don't drink and drive!
100 Los Angeles County law enforcement agencies will deploy
additional driving under the influence roving saturation patrols to arrest
drunken drivers. Authorities are advising St. Patrick's Day partygoers to
designate a sober driver before drinking and if there is someone you know who
is about to drive while impaired, take their keys and help them make other
arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
For those looking to prepare an Irish feast of their own, check out this recipe sent directly to Brentwood Patch from Bob Spivack, chief cook and bottle washer at The Daily Grill on San Vicente.
Corned Beef with Braised Green Cabbage and Red Skin Potatoes
8 lbs. Corned Beef Brisket
2 each Green Cabbage Head
¼ cup Red Wine Vinegar
¼ cup Granulated Sugar
½ cup Bacon Grease
4 lbs Red Potatoes
4 cups Chicken Broth
Serves 6 to 8 people
Procedure for Cooking Corned Beef
Step 1 - Remove plastic from corned beef and place in large stock pot making sure that water covers the corned beef completely. Add 1 cup of pickling spice for every two gallons of water. Bring water to rapid boil and turn down to medium boil and cook for 2-2 ½ hrs. Corned beef should be tender when you push a knife through.
Step 2 - Cool corned beef and trim the top piece as well as all excess fat. When serving, slice against the grain of the corned beef in ¼” thick slices.
Procedure for Cabbage
Step 1 - Cut cabbage head into 8 equal parts leaving the core intact and keeping the wedges together.
Step 2 - Place cabbage wedges in steamer with 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar in water. Sprinkle sugar over cabbage and season with salt and ground pepper. Cook for 12-15 minutes or until cabbage is soft texture – once cooked hold to the side.
Step 3 – In 12” sauté pan, place 1/8 inch of bacon grease over medium high heat, place the cooked cabbage and braise the cabbage, again seasoning with salt and pepper, turning over on each side till a wilted brown color.
Procedure for Potatoes
Step 1 - Cut red potatoes length wise into wedges.
Step 2 - In steamer, cook for 15-20 min. till tender.
Braised Corned Beef and Cabbage Set-Up
Step 1 - In a shallow bowl; place 2 wedges of the cooked cabbage laying the slice corned beef over the top of the cabbage.
Step 2 - Around the edges of the pasta bowl, place the cooked potato wedges.
Step 3 – Pour 4 oz. of steaming hot chicken broth over the top.
Step 4 - Sprinkle outer edge of bowl w/ fresh chopped parsley.
Serve with straight horseradish and Dijon mustard on the side.
Special note: All components of this assembly may be done ahead and steamed or put together at the last minute.
For those looking to serve green beer at their St. Patrick’s Day party, try this easy recipe, here.