#42 Corned Beef & Cabbage77
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I don’t expect this to be my most popular AmperArt edition, certainly not one that will be framed & hung on many living room walls. (Although it might look nifty in a retro-styled kitchen.)
But I just had to take that phrase of one of my favorite culinary pairs & stick an ampersand in it. In this case, the ampersand itself is corned beef with lots of cracked pepper (those are NOT ants).
St. Patrick’s Day has always been one of my favorite holidays. It always meant meeting a pretty Irish lass (or one pretending to be Irish) for whom I would buy rounds of Irish whiskey–till her jealous boyfriend showed up. Oops. It meant free-flowing green beer which is an insult to a true Irishman (I’m Italian & German so it’s okay). It meant lilting, tear-jerking Irish ballads, the more heartfelt the better, & the more beer consumed the more tear-jerking the ballads.
& it always meant one of my favorite dishes, corned beef & cabbage. With lots of horseradish & mustard. I don’t drink anymore, but I still love my Irish music & corned beef & cabbage every St. Patrick’s Day.
& the beautiful women? Everyday! (Till their boyfriends show up.)
Another thing I love about the Irish is their beautiful prose & poetry, such as this Irish blessing:
May there always be work for your hands to do
May your purse always hold a coin or two;
May the sun always shine on your windowpane;
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain;
May the hand of a friend always be near you;
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.
& their wit:
Never iron a four-leaf clover, because you don’t want to press your luck.
As I wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day, I’ll leave you with yet one more Irish saying, which I truly believe:
A best friend is like a four leaf clover: hard to find & lucky to have.
Senor Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day for me is all about Irish Music, Irish Food & Irish Beer. I don’t drink anymore, so 2 out of 3 ain’t bad. I really must have my annual corned beef & cabbage, & I’ll go to any length to get the real, authentic stuff. (Okay, I’ll settle for Denny’s in a pinch.)
Several years ago I went to an Irish pub for live Irish music & real Irish corned beef & cabbage. After a few ballads & a few cups of coffee I got kicked out–sober. Lots of drunks get kicked out of a bar on St. Patricks for their infamous brawls. But me? For not getting drunk! “We don’t like your type in here,” they said.
So I went from Irish bar to Irish bar & Irish restaurant to Irish restaurant (well, one — they’re not on every street corner in Santa Monica) to get my fix of corned beef & cabbage. Either everyone had run out or they didn’t even serve it on its most famous day.
Then I remembered seeing a hand-written sign in the window of my favorite coffee shop, Callahan’s Restaurant. “Irish Dinner & Live Music” it said. Why didn’t I remember that sooner? I rushed over there & got in before they closed. I asked Maria, the hostess/waitress, if they had any corned beef & cabbage left. “Si, Senor Chaz.” (It’s a small place run by a wonderful Mexican family, & they kept the menu, decor & name exactly the same as the original owner, who was obviously Irish. They all knew me, since I went there everyday for breakfast.) I asked if the live music was over with, & she said it hadn’t begun yet. Wow! They were staying open late just for St. Patrick’s Day. (Just for me is more like it — the place was practically empty. I wasn’t the only one who forgot about the little sign in the window.)
I ordered my traditional corned beef & cabbage, & it was fabulously traditional—absolutely delicious! They even had real blow-your-head-off horseradish which I love. I was so engrossed in my dinner I didn’t even notice the much-anticipated band setting up.
Until they played their very first note. Incredible. I’ll never forget that St. Patrick’s Day experience with that live band. I love traditional Irish music, especially the ballads that bring me to tears. There’s something special about Irish music that just gets to me. Is it the instruments? The lyrics? The beautiful tenor voice & charming accent of an Irish balladeer? Probably a combination of all those wonderful qualities. But not that night.
It was a live mariachi band.