By the time you get this transmission from the Forktress of Solitude, St. Patrick’s Day will be but a mere six days away, and you’ll probably have a lot of feelings and questions and concerns and so forth. We know that any time a holiday rolls around, your first thoughts are with The Fork, and we get that. And we don’t want to disappoint. And we won’t disappoint.
So, let’s start with food, since this is (ostensibly) a food newsletter, right? Right. Here’s the big food things to know and make or eat for people who maybe don’t know:
Corned Beef ‘n’ Cabbage
Being the big one of the whole affair, you might be surprised to learn there’s no corn in the making of corned beef. The corn, as it were, is actually large grains of rock salt known as corns. And if knowing that is corny, then corn us up. Otherwise, it’s a process of using brisket with them corns and brining it and cooking it reaaaaaaaaaaaaaal slooooooooooooow. You can steam cabbage or whatever—who cares? Here’s a recipe.
This is really more of an English thing than an Irish thing, and started out as a means to use scrap meats and leftover things a shepherd might have had on hand in a slightly less gross way. These days, you can put pretty much whatever you want in there so long as you’ve got mashed potatoes and cheese all up in there. Here’s a recipe.
If you caught this week’s food coverage in ye olde regular paper, you’ll know Plantita Vegan Bakery offers a soda bread from time to time, and it’s not really a thing where you dip a chunk of a baguette into a glass of coke as we originally thought. It’s easy as hell to make at home, though, and requires no proofing or kneading—just throw a buncha bread stuff into a bowl, mix and bake. Here’s a recipe.
Surprise! It’s not a toothpaste, it’s not a cannon kept in snowy regions—it’s a mashed potato dish. With Cabbage. And maybe kale if you hate yourself (it’s too late for kale to work its magical powers on us). There’s a lot of butter. Here’s a recipe.
Beyond that, it’s mainly just ways to get cabbage and potatoes into things. Go wild. Or don’t. Really, if folks won’t be drinking beer with green dye on St. Paddy’s, who even gives a shit about the rest of it? And before you email us about the Irish, know that we’re Irish as hell, and that our great grandmother Suzie McCue hails from Balleybogel. True story.
We love this version of “Carrickfergus” so dang much.
¡100% ACCURATE ST. PATRICK’S DAY HISTORY/FACT LESSON ALERT!
We know you come here for the history as much as you come here for the food, so without further ado, let us get down to the history!
St. Patrick (or Essy-P to his buds) was a fifth century dude who was born in Britannia during its Roman rule (people think March 17, 461). Homeboy wound up enslaved and taken to the Emerald Isle at 16, whereupon he escaped to nobody-knows-where. Later, he returned and brought Christianity to the Irish with a dumbed-down Holy Trinity explanation that found him like, “Hey, kids, I’m not like a regular Christian proponent—I’m a cool Christian proponent, and you see how this three-leaf clover has three leaves? Well, think of it like the Holy Trinity.” Could he have used anything with three things? Probably!
No one really knows exactly when or why the folks of the world got down to feasting for St. Patrick’s Day, but we do know it was common practice by the ninth or 10th century in Ireland.
That whole thing about St. Paddy banishing Irish snakes is a bunch of bologna. There weren’t really snakes to banish in Ireland, and many believe it’s an allegory for how he pretty much told the plant/sun worshipping Druids to kick rocks.
With over 100 St. Patrick’s Day parades taking place across the country, it can be hard to know when/why it originated, but historians believe the first-ever parade went down in 1601 at s Spanish colony in what is today St. Augustine, Florida. That’s right, friendos—St. Paddy’s Parade is an American thing (as is corned beef). Anyway, the parading became more commonplace more than 100 years later when British soldiers stationed in New York circa 1772 were like “Remember when we feasted all sick back home on March 17?” and then marched to honor the patron saint of Ireland (that’s St. Paddy, in case we’re not being clear).
The parade thing grew from there over the next few decades, and in 1848, a bunch of New York parades were like, “We should parade as one big parade, no?” The people shouted “Yes, yes! Oh, God, yes!” and the rest, as they say, is stuff that happened. The tradition continued unabated until 2020, when COVID-19 wrenched up the parade plans and instead folks just stayed home with their Guinness and such.
Irish law dictated that pubs be closed on St. Patrick’s Day until some point in the 1970s. Turns out it was celebrated as a much more religious thing previously. As we all know from movies like The Warriors, though, everything everywhere went off the rails in the 1970s. Insert your jokes about the Irish drinking too much here if you must, but it’s pretty reductive.
Did you know that Leprechauns have their own holiday (April 13), but have been wrapped up in American St. Patrick’s Day celebrations because Americans are trash people who can only keep track of broad ideas rather than actual facts?
We literally just learned that the city of Chicago dyes the Chicago River green every year for St. Paddy’s. That’s so weird. This isn’t so much anything as much as we think it’s weird.
-This is pretty national info, but it also applies locally—which is to say, do you know about the Backing Historic Small Restaurants initiative? Teaming with American Express, the National Trust for Historic Preservation is on the lookout for enduring small eateries around the country and has about $1 million in grants to hand out to said restaurants. If you own a place or want to nominate a place, click the link above to learn how to get got.
-Looks like chef David Sellers (of the most excellent Street Food Institute) is opening up a spot called Horno in the old Il Piatto spot on Marcy Street and, according to a Facebook post we saw, is on the lookout for a sous chef. We couldn’t find an Horno website just yet, but we bet you can reach out through the institute if you were so inclined.
-Speaking of new spots, whaddya know about Liu Liu Liu? If it’s nothing, we won’t be shocked, but the new and reportedly upscale restaurant is all about a fusion of New Mexican, Californian and Taiwanese styles and we want to go there! Find it at 1722 St. Michael’s Drive, Ste. F, and follow this link for a look at the super-sweet menu.
-On Tuesday, March 9, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed Senate Bill 2, which will waive liquor license fees for New Mexico businesses. “Waiving these fees is another way of delivering much-needed support for the businesses that have faced inordinate challenges throughout this incredibly challenging year,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement.
-Totally, fully, full-on awesome ice cream truck Freezie Fresh announced it will be back for the season starting Friday, March 12. Read a little more here.
-Violet Crown Santa Fe not only announced that it’ll reopening on March 19 for limited-capacity private screenings, it says it’ll announce public screenings soon, AND that its menu is revamped and has a new sourdough pizza available. Holy smokes! Not only that, but if you follow this link, you can learn how you’ll be able to order without even leaving the dang auditorium! USA! USA! USA!
-BREAKING: The only things we’ve ever cared about in our lives are nugs, chillin’ and grindage.
-Since Gwyneth Paltrow seems determined to not only do horrible things like extend Chris “Radiohead-Lite” Martin’s bloodline, we’re not always shocked to hear she’s up to some wack-ass crap with her Goop brand, but this one’s no good either: Seems Paltrow opened a new delivery-only (gross) restaurant in Santa Monica (gross) called Goop Kitchen (gross) and it’s probably only a matter of time before she’s also extolling her pseudo-sciencey (gross) Goop (gross) company message (gross). In a statement to Food & Wine, Goop (gross) says that “Goop Kitchen’s mission is to accelerate the clean food movement by proving, just as Paltrow did years ago, that whole, unprocessed meals can be both satisfying and convenient, this time brought right to your door with just a few clicks.” Gross. This isn’t the end of the world, BUT (and it’s a big BUT), ghost kitchens are basically wack. The foodservice ecosystem is a delicate one, indeed.
-Oh, good—Taco Bell is getting into the crispy chicken sandwich game with a new crispy chicken taco. Yikes. Have we not, as a society, agreed to move past all this cripsy chicken madness. Oh, and PS—if you’re an adult who says “chicky nuggies” or, like, shares memes with that phrase, The Fork would like you to know it’s terrible, you should know better, it’s time to stop. Ugh. We feel disgusting having even written those non-words.
-Zip-loc bags are sooooo passé when silicon zip...uh...things are here to stay. According to Bon Appétit’s Sarah Jampel, these bad boys are gonna replace those single-use plastic crap-bags forever and ever. USA! USA! USA!
-This is a link to a recipe for how to make THC-infused Cheez-Its at home. We just think that’s valuable.
In the print edition of SFR, learn how a local vegan baker opened Plantita Vegan Bakery, and why it’s now on our list of awesome-ass places.
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