If you've been following my blog for a bit, you already know I'm Italian. That's it. Italian. There isn't an ounce of any other nationality in my blood to speak of. Honestly, I've always felt slighted because of this. I remember kids in school would rattle off a fancy array of nationalities, "Irish, Scottish, British with a tiny bit of Cherokee." I was never able to do that. As a teen, I took to lying and told newer friends or acquaintances that I was Italian and Swiss. Hey, it sounded good!
Every March, St. Patrick's Day would creep up and the majority of my fellow Catholic grammar school friends were thrilled to celebrate their heritage and pride. Our teachers would give lessons on Irish history, teach us how to Irish Step Dance and we even performed the Scottish story, Brigadoon one year as our spring performance.
Back in the 1980s, there were lots of buttons and shirts that read, "Kiss Me I'm Irish!" One year I felt so left out, I made my own pin which read, "I'm not Irish, but you can kiss me anyway!" As a non-Irish kid, I simply celebrated the day by wearing a green sweater over my uniform and green tights under my uniform. However, the very best part of the day was loading up on the traditional "Irish" foods.
"What foods might that be?" you ask ... Why green bagels of course! In an earlier blog, I mentioned Mom often hooking us up with pink bagels on Valentine's Day morning, well she did the same for St. Pat's Day too. We'd feast on green bagels for breakfast smothered in cream cheese. Mom even made our tuna sandwiches on green bagels to help us continue celebrating the Irish holiday throughout the day! After school, my parents would take us to Mitchell's on Rockaway Avenue for the St. Patrick's Day special. It was the one time of year we dined on corned beef and boiled potatoes.
It is because of that family tradition, I'm lost without my corned beef every March 17th. My husband, friends and in-laws have zero interest in any sort of corned beef consumption. Luckily this year, I planned ahead. I'm having dinner with my mom, my aunt with the records, my little cousin, my brother, his wife and my nephew.