HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY - Dad, I'm making corned beef and cabbage!!

Every St. Patrick's Day my father took over the kitchen to make corned beef and cabbage. This was a traditional thing to do if any part of you was Irish. It was a rare thing for my father to be in the kitchen in our house, though it was not rare for him to cook. As an executive with the Boy Scouts of America my father did quite a bit of campfire cooking. I especially remember the cobblers he would make in a dutch oven, I love those Bisquik topped cobblers to this day.

But St. Patty's Day was my father's day to rule the kitchen and he always made corned beef and cabbage and insisted that we all wear green. If you forgot your green clothing you got pinched! I made sure I had on something green - even if it was just a construction paper shamrock I'd made at school.

As a child I was never really fond of corned beef and cabbage as a meal. I disliked the smell of cooking cabbage and I was more fond of sweet foods than savory ones, but I did love the corned beef sandwiches we made from the leftovers. We also made corned beef hash, again not a favorite of mine in those days! However, as I grew older I began to enjoy the holiday and look forward to the meal and even the corned beef hash leftovers, and I still love the sandwiches! My dad made a mean corned beef!

So, today I am going to celebrate St. Patrick's Day and remember my father by making my very first corned beef and cabbage meal. I still don't like cooked cabbage, but hey, it's part of the tradition and I'm really looking forward to having a homemade corned beef sandwich - on rye with swiss and mustard! I've already put the corned beef in the crock pot for a nice long simmer all day and I'll be adding the fresh red potatoes and cabbage later this afternoon.

I've invited a few friends over to join me and I'm going to serve Scarlett O'Hara Martinis and some nice green Spinach Balls before hand for cocktail hour, then my corned beef and cabbage will make it's debut. Wish me luck or send me a leprechaun to watch over my first corned beef as it cooks - newbie Irish chefs can always use a little Luck o' the Irish!

Dad, I hope you're watching and I hope, somewhere over the rainbow, that you're cooking a heavenly corned beef for the family up there. I hope you'll be proud of my efforts, this corned beef is for you.

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Beannachtam na Femle Padraig! Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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