This fellow St. Patrick has been celebrated in this country for more than 200 years and in Ireland for close to 2000. We have a storybook on my son’s bookshelf that we’ve read over the years which tells the most familiar story. It’s about a young boy named Maewyn who was born to a tax collector in the Roman British empire. This version of the story tells that he was sold into slavery and shipped to Ireland. His captors forced him to herd sheep and he did so until he escaped 6 years later.
A more recent version has the wealthy young Maewyn selling his own slaves in order to buy passage to Ireland so he can escape the fate of becoming a tax collector like his father. Clearly, that has stirred up controversy.
In both cases, he left Ireland to study religion in France and later the Pope named him Patricius, the Latin name for Patrick. Patricius followed his dream of returning to Ireland in order to teach the people about God. He died on this day in 461 and that is what is celebrated. Later he was made a saint. Between his return to Eire and his death is where legends kick in:
- He’s said to have driven snakes from Ireland although most biologists agree that there were never snakes on the Emerald Isle.
- He’s credited with using a shamrock to teach the Holy Trinity .
- He loaned his cloak to a man who was later in a fire but the man was never burned.
- He changed the liquid poison in his cup into ice when a wicked wizard was attempting to poison him.
- The sun didn’t set for 12 days following his death.
- He gave several generations an excuse to ingest copious quantities of Guinness and green beer on the anniversary of his death.
When I was young, we had corned beef and cabbage on this day. My grandmother did it in the pressure cooker where it cooked quickly retaining its goodness yet became incredibly tender. It was served with potatoes. Now I live in the Southwest and no one in my family is a corned beef fan. Our version is to cook up cabbage, abundant in our CSA right now, with sauce and spices to inspire a twist on this St. Patrick’s holiday. Clearly, this can be viewed as stirring up controversy.
Adapted from the Happy Herbivore
- 3/4 large white cabbage
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 16 ounces tomato sauce
- 5 roasted green chiles, diced
- 2 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp oregano or majarom
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 2 cups corn, frozen
- 2 cups black beans, cooked
- broken corn chips
Chop cabbage into thin strips, set aside. Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent in a large skillet. Add cabbage, tomato sauce, chilis, paste and spices. Reduce heat to medium and cook until cabbage is tender, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in frozen corn until evenly distributed. Salt to taste and adjust spices as desired. Mix in black beans before serving. Break corn tortilla chips into small pieces and sprinkle over top before serving.
May you live a long life
Full of gladness and health,
With a pocket full of gold
As the least of your wealth.
May the dreams you hold dearest,
Be those which come true,
The kindness you spread,
Keep returning to you.