Growing up in Chicago, I remember how every March the river would be dyed with vegetable dye — a tradition that began in 1962 — in preparation for the holiday, as patrons decked in green T-shirts and beads cram into area pubs like Schinnick's and Hinky Dink's.
In the U.S. especially, St. Patrick's Day has become a drunken celebration of all things green, beer included. It's a far cry from the original, more solemn observances of St. Patrick's Day, Ireland's patron saint, which usually involved Irish Catholics attending morning mass and perhaps partaking in a feast later in the day. The Connaught Telegraph once described the Irish holiday by saying, "St. Patrick's Day was very much like any other day, only duller."
While the conversation generally skews toward drinks, another fun way to get festive on March 17 is with food. That's why we're sharing 5 of our favorite St. Patrick's Day recipes from the Salon Food archives today. You'll feel lucky if any of these gems are part of your celebration:
This recipe for Baileys Irish Cream Cookies comes from Meghan McGarry, the proud Irish American owner of Buttercream Blondie. Wondering what they taste like? Well, think of an Irish coffee — which beautifully combines espresso, a little whiskey and cream — in cookie sandwich form.
"I paired Irish whiskey and coffee together, because they're the ultimate power couple," McGarry previously told Salon Food. "The Baileys floating through the cookie is very delicate, and in the filling is the espresso for an extra shot of flavor that beautifully cuts through the sweetness."
For an extra touch of festiveness, reach for a Shamrock cookie mold. Don't have one? No worries! Grab any 3-inch cookie cutter and some green sprinkles for a thematic touch.
Have some leftover Baileys on your hands? Follow McGarry's lead again and consider using it to spike a batch of brownies. A single shot really enhances the batter. You can follow her homemade recipe, reach for a box mix or maybe give Salon's extra-dark espresso-infused variety a try.
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As Salon's Erin Keane wrote for "The Oracle Pour," "Why is a grown-up St. Patrick's Day toast so hard to imagine? Celebrating this holiday as an American adult shouldn't have to be a choice between an obnoxious public event or a demented solo living room reading of 'The Lieutenant of Inishmore.' (Play the Pogues, hide the cat.)"
Celebrate finding a middle ground between those options with a Jameson Mule. It's a 5-ingredient play on the Moscow Mule, the backbone of which, as the name suggests, is Jameson Irish Whiskey. According to Jameson expert and mixologist Jane Danger, the bold flavor of ginger beer perfectly complements the complex flavors found in Jameson Irish Whiskey.
"The balance of spicy, nutty and vanilla notes in Jameson Original are heightened with hints of sweet sherry and exceptional smoothness," Danger told Keane. "The lime cuts the sweetness and adds a finishing touch of citrus to bring out the fresh Granny Smith apple notes."
"Like countless Irish Americans, I find St. Patrick's Day a real mixed pot o' gold," Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams once wrote. "On the one hand, I'm proud of my heritage and my melancholy, pugilistic people. On the other hand, is there anything about the way the holiday is celebrated in the U.S. that isn't just . . . gross?"
Williams had a similarly fraught relationship with McDonald's Shamrock Shake — the annual "limited-time only," mint flavor-packed, drive-thru darling. To her, the faux mint-flavoring was a bit much. So, she decided to — as another famous fast-food chain puts it — have it her way. That meant ditching the mint, upping the vanilla and subbing in a glug or two of whiskey.
Perhaps you want to enjoy something green that isn't green beer? Be sure to check out this list of our favorite beans and greens recipes. To start, we've got a gorgeously crunchy kale salad inspired by Molly Baz. If you're looking for something a little heartier, David Kinch's beans and greens gratin blends a healthy amount of melting cheese with cannellini beans and torn kale, all of which gets topped with a crispy breadcrumb crust. Jackie Freeman's cauliflower and lima bean gratin is a similar recipe — use either as a jumping-off point based on what you have in your own fridge and pantry.