A number of novelty consumables consistently reappear in the marketplace during the days leading up to March 17 - mostly green-tinted beverages, like beer and milkshakes. Although this may be an amusing way to recognize St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, a culinary adventure of Irish cuisine would be more nostalgic.
There are a number of traditional Irish dishes that can make the dinner table a celebratory venue in recognition of St. Patrick's Day. Potatoes continue to be a staple in Irish cuisine, but there are many dishes - with or without potatoes - that capture the essence of the country's time-honoured meals.
Dublin Coddle is a recipe that first comes to mind when thinking about Irish food. This dish consists of pan-frying sausages, bacon, onions and garlic before placing them on potato slices in a casserole dish and baking together with some broth and seasonings. The seasonings can be as simple as using some dried sage with salt and pepper.
Colcannon is a very traditional vegetarian dish consisting of a mashed combination of potatoes and cabbage. The potatoes are cooked and mashed; the cabbage is pan-fried with butter and onions before combined with the mashed potatoes with some milk or cream, and seasoned to taste.
Soda Bread is a common accompaniment to many meals. It is a simple quick bread that rises with the chemical reaction of buttermilk with baking soda. There are many varieties of this recipe, and my favourite includes the addition of wheat germ. The classic shape of this bread is round, with the surface scored with a knife four times in a star-shaped pattern.
Lamb and beef stews are also very popular as one-dish meals in Ireland. Many also can include the addition of Guinness beer, the delicious black stout from Dublin.
A classic sweet with a cup of tea would be Irish Tea Brack. It is similar to a fruit cake but made without butter or margarine, and has no candied fruit. Raisins and lemon rind usually grace this heavy cake, along with Irish whisky and warm spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.