St. Patrick’s Day — Oliver’s Style
We are all about choices here at Oliver’s, and our St. Patrick’s Day offerings are no exception to that rule. Whether you want to pick up a complete Corned Beef Dinner for 4-6 people (order in advance at our Delis), ready to heat and enjoy, or make your own Corned Beef Dinner, or just pick up prepared Corned Beef and do the rest on your own, see our Meat Department and Deli Department for options galore. In addition, our hot bars and Grab and Go will also feature these items, making it super easy to enjoy the traditional St. Paddy’s Day meal.
Check out our Bakery for festive desserts appealing to kids and adults alike, and of course, don’t forget a stop in our Wine, Beer, & Spirits Department for a little Irish cheer! We have a great collection of imported beers, Irish Whiskeys, and even some Irish liqueurs on special. (Learn more about Irish Whiskeys below.)
And now, on to the reason we all do this. Have you ever wondered how St. Patrick’s Day came to be, or why corned beef and cabbage are the celebratory meal of choice? Read on to learn about the hows and whys of this holiday, which is uniquely celebrated in America (Hint: It’s not the same as in Ireland!).
A Brief History of St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick is the most famous patron saint of Ireland. He lived from about 385-461 AD and is believed to have died on March 17th. The day commemorates St. Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, as well as the culture and heritage of the Irish people in general. St. Patrick’s Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century. The Lenten restrictions of eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day as well. It is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the British territory of Montserrat. It is customary to wear shamrocks or green clothing (“the wearing of the green”) because St. Patrick is said to have used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish.
Where’s the Beef? Corned Beef That Is
There’s nothing more Irish than corned beef and cabbage, right? Wrong? Well, it’s complicated. Corned beef and cabbage were actually adopted for the celebratory feast by Irish immigrants in New York City. The Irish working class frequented Jewish delis, which is where they first tasted the corned beef. The corned beef they made came from brisket, a kosher cut of meat from the front of the cow. It tasted a lot like Irish bacon and was seen as a cheaper alternative to pork. Potatoes were widely available, but cabbage was a budget saving option, and when cooked in the same pot the spiced, salty beef flavored the cabbage, creating a simple, hearty dish. Beef was also very expensive in Ireland, making Corned Beef and Cabbage a delicious and budget-friendly alternative to the Ham and Potatoes enjoyed back in the Motherland.
The Spirit(s) of the Irish
Irish whiskey can be traced back to the 11th century when Irish monks brought back the technique of distilling perfumes from the Mediterranean, and then modified this technique to obtain a drinkable spirit. Unlike their neighbors in Scotland, most Irish whiskey is distilled three times and peat is rarely used in the malting process, giving Irish whiskey a delicate, less earthy flavor. Much like Scotch and Bourbon, there are laws that regulate what Irish whiskey is. It must be distilled and aged on the island of Ireland, it must be distilled to an alcohol by volume of less than 94.8% from a yeast-fermented mash of cereal grains, and it must be aged for at least three years in wooden casks not exceeding 700 liters. Irish whiskey is a little sweet, smooth, and very approachable. This St. Patrick’s Day it’s time to toast your good luck with a cocktail made with the Emerald Isle’s finest, or sip and savor it on its own.
Beer is the other adult beverage of choice in Ireland, the two most popular forms of it being Guinness or a Black and Tan.
Guinness is an Irish dry stout that originated at the brewery of Arthur Guinness at St. James Gate in Dublin in 1759. Guinness is made from water, barley, roasted malt extract, hops and brewer’s yeast. A portion of the barley is roasted, which gives Guinness its dark color and characteristic taste. The color of Guinness may appear to be black, however according to the folks at Guinness; it is officially a very dark shade of ruby.
The Black and Tan (actually called a Half & Half in Ireland) is the other well known Irish beer libation. It is made by layering Guinness on top of Harp Lager. The lower relative density of Guinness is what allows it to rest on top of the Harp. To prepare a Half and Half, fill a pint glass half full with Harp. Then slowly pour the Guinness over a gadget called a “turtle” (or use an upside-down tablespoon in a pinch) to avoid splashing and mixing of the layers. Alternately, you can pour the Guinness first, which will mix the two beers together instead of creating two separate layers.
Don’t forget to check out our collection of Irish beers and whiskies, featured at great prices this week. Not sure what to choose? Our Wine Department staff is always happy to answer your questions and direct you to a great option.
Your Holiday Meal — and Beyond
At Oliver’s, our Meat, Deli, Produce, and Bakery departments are fully stocked with everything you need to enjoy the perfect St. Patrick’s Day repast! Order your dinner pre-made for a group, grab a serving or two in our Grab and Go area, or pick up all of the ingredients and start cooking! The choices are all yours.
If you are interested in doing the cooking yourself, or you have some leftovers to re-invent, we have some great classic and new recipes for you to try!
- Irish Colcannon
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Corned Beef
- Irish Soda Bread
- Irish Coffee
- Corned Beef Sliders
So, check out this week’s ad for all kinds of great pricing on everything you need for a delicious and festive St. Patrick’s Day, and that is no blarney!
Erin go Bragh!
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