Just in time for St. Patty’s day, here’s a great guest post from Rebecca Stumpf:

Oh for the love of the Irish! It’s St. Patrick’s Day and that means corned beef and cabbage; a family favorite in our house! As I set out to write this blog I wondered about the actually history of St. Patrick’s Day. History.com and Wikipedia (extensive information) are both great resources of information.

Let’s start with Saint Patrick. He was born in Britain, taken hostage at the age of 16 and sent to Ireland. After escaping 6 years later he started his religious training to become a priest. After his ordination, he returned to Ireland to counsel those Christians living in Ireland and to set out on the goal of converting the rest. Instead of eradicating local customs, he wove in some of the nature based pagan traditions into Christianity. We are reminded every March 17 how much he was widely respected and loved by the Irish. Unfortunately, I do not have enough room to give all his history, so I encourage you to visit The History Channel and Wikipedia to read more about Saint Patrick.

Now, onto the St. Patrick’s Day feast! The Irish have observed this day for over 1000 years. Yet, it was those Irish immigrants who came to America that made this day into the festival it is with parades, food and lots of green beer, bread, popcorn and even a green river. Because, this holiday falls on a Thursday, most of us won’t have time to labor over cooking a brisket all day. So let the crock pot do all the work. Prepare and set it in the morning and come home to a wonderful smell (for some an acquired smell). Depending on how much time I have and how adventurous I feel, I may try a different recipe that incorporates more vegetables or extra spices.

This year, however, it’s simple and straightforward. One large (4 – 5 pound) corned beef brisket, one head of cabbage and 4 red potatoes all go into a crock pot on low heat for 8 hours. Make sure to set the brisket fat-side down, the fat will penetrate the brisket making it more tender and adding more flavor. Adding the spice packet into the crock pot is optional; however it does add additional flavor. Check out other corned beef recipes online to find one that your family likes.

One last note, for those of you who despise corned beef or want to try something new, you might opt for what may actually be as close to an Irish traditional dish of boiled bacon and cabbage! Check out this link for the history and recipe of this other great dish.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and don’t forget to wear your green!

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