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Uncommonly Sensible

Keeping the "anal" in analytical... (While trying to remain civilized)

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Location: United States

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The wearin' of the green...

In recognition of my (¼) Irish heritage, and the fact that it's that time of year, a little background on Saint Patrick:

St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is one of Christianity's most widely known figures. But for all his celebrity, his life remains somewhat of a mystery. Many of the stories traditionally associated with St. Patrick, including the famous account of his banishing all the snakes from Ireland, are false, the products of hundreds of years of exaggerated storytelling.

Taken Prisoner By Irish Raiders
It is known that St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century. He is believed to have died on March 17, around 460 A.D. Although his father was a Christian deacon, it has been suggested that he probably took on the role because of tax incentives and there is no evidence that Patrick came from a particularly religious family. At the age of sixteen, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family's estate. They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity. (There is some dispute over where this captivity took place. Although many believe he was taken to live in Mount Slemish in County Antrim, it is more likely that he was held in County Mayo near Killala.) During this time, he worked as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to his religion for solace, becoming a devout Christian. (It is also believed that Patrick first began to dream of converting the Irish people to Christianity during his captivity.)

Guided By Visions
After more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick escaped. According to his writing, a voice—which he believed to be God's—spoke to him in a dream, telling him it was time to leave Ireland. To do so, Patrick walked nearly 200 miles from County Mayo, where it is believed he was held, to the Irish coast. After escaping to Britain, Patrick reported that he experienced a second revelation—an angel in a dream tells him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Soon after, Patrick began religious training, a course of study that lasted more than fifteen years. After his ordination as a priest, he was sent to Ireland with a dual mission—to minister to Christians already living in Ireland and to begin to convert the Irish. (Interestingly, this mission contradicts the widely held notion that Patrick introduced Christianity to Ireland.)

Bonfires and Crosses
Familiar with the Irish language and culture, Patrick chose to incorporate traditional ritual into his lessons of Christianity instead of attempting to eradicate native Irish beliefs. For instance, he used bonfires to celebrate Easter since the Irish were used to honoring their gods with fire. He also superimposed a sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross, so that veneration of the symbol would seem more natural to the Irish. (Although there were a small number of Christians on the island when Patrick arrived, most Irish practiced a nature-based pagan religion. The Irish culture centered around a rich tradition of oral legend and myth. When this is considered, it is no surprise that the story of Patrick's life became exaggerated over the centuries—spinning exciting tales to remember history has always been a part of the Irish way of life.)

Corned beef & cabbage recipe:

----- Ingredients-----
5 pounds corned brisket of beef
6 peppercorns, or packaged pickling spices
3 carrots, peeled and quartered
3 onions, peeled and quartered
1 medium-sized green cabbage, quartered or cut in wedges
Melted butter (about 4 tablespoons)

----- Preparation -----
Place the corned beef in water to cover with the peppercorns or mixed pickling spices (in supermarkets, these often come packaged with the corned beef). Cover the pot or kettle, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 hours or until tender, skimming occasionally. During the last hour, add the carrots and onions and cover again. During the last 15 minutes, add the cabbage. Transfer meat and vegetables to a platter and brush the vegetables with the melted butter. Serve with boiled parsley potatoes, cooked separately. (The stock can be saved to add to a pot roast or stew instead of other liquid.)

Serves 6, with meat left over for additional meals.

I guess I should get some Guinness and/or Harp this weekend; maybe a good old "Half & Half" or three...


Blogger mig said...

I have a theory about St. Patrick and the snakes, completely unsubstantiated but it makes sense to me.
Druid Priests had tattoos of a snake twining around their forearms. These are the 'snakes' that were chased out of the Isles...
That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

March 17, 2006 3:13 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

Ah, not literal snakes but figurative ones? Works for me!

March 17, 2006 3:50 AM  
Blogger MargeinMI said...

So St. Patrick is really a British leprechan? ;o)

I always learn something new here. Thanks camo.

March 17, 2006 7:14 AM  
Blogger boberin said...

Ah, 'tis a beautiful thing you've done lad...education is always good and many of these fact I did not know.
Top o' the morning to you (and the rest of the day to myself)
Happy St Patricks day!

March 17, 2006 7:24 AM  
Blogger Ms. RightWing, Ink said...

Hey camojack I got you beat by a quarter. Me sweet little ol' mom was Irish and my Dad, Svedish.

Now many would think that to be a good cross, but nay. You see the Irish hated the cursed people from up north, because during the Viking raids, the bearded warriors would drink and steal all their beer.

A Irishman would and oft did die before they gave the recipe for their beer to the Vikings.

So, alas, inside my body is this never ending fight. :-(

March 17, 2006 9:06 AM  
Blogger Ms. RightWing, Ink said...

how come I sent you a comment and it not be showin' up must be the wee little people

March 17, 2006 9:14 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

St. Patrick was born in Britain, so yes...the Irish patron saint is a bloody Englishman.

Heh, heh.

Sure an' begorrah!!!
(Whatever that means)

Ms. RightWing, Ink:
I'll see your quarter, and I'll raise you 50¢!

As for any delayed comments, whaddaya want fer nuttin', honey?

March 17, 2006 9:19 AM  
Blogger 'da Bunny said...

Jack, you are a veritable fountain of information! :-)

My paternal grandmother and maternal grandfather were both Irish...combine that with some German, English, and Cherokee ancestry, and that makes me a true "mutt." But, hey...everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day!

March 17, 2006 9:19 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

'da Bunny:
You're Irish, German, English, and Cherokee too? I wonder if we're related along one or more of those bloodlines.

But as you say, everyone is Irish on St. Patty's Day!
(Ya mutt!!!)

March 17, 2006 9:24 AM  
Blogger Libby Gone™ said...

Excellent post Sir,
I will be celebrating the Holiday in the old tradition I have followed for years,
Watching John Belushi's SNL routine " The Luck of the Irish"
ROFLOL everytime!

March 17, 2006 9:36 AM  
Blogger Maggie said...

Erin go Braughless!!!!
Happy St.Patrick's Day everyone.

Green Kool-aid will go nicely with the cabbage and beef recipe

March 17, 2006 9:45 AM  
Blogger boberin said...

Oh good grief, I too (I swear) am a "mutt" almost identical to da bunny, what if we are all related?
Boggles the mind

March 17, 2006 10:12 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

Libby Gone™:
I don't know if I've ever seen the S.N.L. bit to which you're referring.

I had a Reuben omelette this morning; that had corned beef and cabbage (sauerkraut) in it...oh yeah, and a side of home fries, too.

Perhaps your mind is easily boggled?
(Heh, heh...)

March 17, 2006 10:17 AM  
Blogger JR said...

I love green beer... Just to see the contrast against the white porcelain... Open 
Drown the Shamrocks
in a New Window....

March 17, 2006 11:16 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

Thanks for the link; int'resting stuff.

As for the contrast against the white porcelain...I'm afraid to ask.

March 17, 2006 11:52 AM  
Blogger boberin said...

No argument there camo, none whatever. It takes very little to boggle the few remaining brain cells these day. It'll take even less by tomorrow I'm guessing!

March 17, 2006 12:17 PM  
Blogger Libby Gone™ said...

Erin Go Brah
What the heck does that mean?

March 17, 2006 1:08 PM  
Blogger boberin said...

Libby, you are lucky the "erin" half of me didn't hear you say that!
Ireland Forever (on the off chance you weren't kidding!)

March 17, 2006 1:24 PM  
Blogger onlineanalyst said...

I never knew that the potatoes were cooked separately, but that technique makes sense so that the fat is not absorbed into the spuds. The serving size is nearly a pound of meat per person? That's a lot of food to counteract that beer.

BTW Even though we're all Irish on St. Paddy's Day, I thought that St. Brendan was the first saint of Ireland.

I'm glad to learn of the origin of the Celtic cross design, and I like mig's version of the driving out of the snakes. I have, to wonder though: Why would those Druid priests have snakes tattoos? Doesn't Ireland have no snakes... or am I thinking of New Zealand?

March 17, 2006 5:19 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

Libby Gone™:
What boberin said.

I guess your mind didn't get boggled by that one.

There are a lot of islands without snakes of the reptile variety.

Like my favorite ones, for example...the Hawaiian chain.

March 17, 2006 6:51 PM  
Blogger Barb said...

Hey, St Patrick was a saint ,he could do as he pleased.He probably retired to Hawaii,after he finished up in Ireland,and they called him St. Padawelaki,and he just banished all their snakes, too.
I want everyone to stop unmything all my favorite stories.
Next you'll be telling me all those Irish songs aren't even Irish, like "A Little Bit of Heaven ." Is nothing sacred?

March 17, 2006 8:02 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

Sorry. :-(

But at least I went out and got a couple of those ½ Guinness drinks...

March 18, 2006 12:20 AM  
Blogger Maggie said...

barb sent me a St.Patrick's Day wish:
May the wind at your back not be the result of the corned beef and cabbage you ate.....LMHO

March 18, 2006 12:19 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

I don't know about the corned beef, but the cabbage can definitely have that effect...

March 18, 2006 12:44 PM  
Blogger JannyMae said...

I'm late to the party, as we spent the last four days in Sedona, AZ!
Thankfully, the weather held out so we could get some great views of the famous red rocks!

We had our corned beef and cabbage last Sunday, as we knew we would be on the road for the holiday!
I quaffed a Guinness for you, Camojack!

March 18, 2006 5:56 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

You're not too terribly late; St. Patrick's Day was just yesterday.

Guinness...an entire meal in a glass!
(I had 2 of 'em last night...)

March 18, 2006 8:09 PM  
Blogger camojack_senior said...

Apparently St. Patrick chased all
the snakes out of Ireland. They then emmigrated to the middle east and became spiritual leaders and
As far as your 25% Irish, I am not
responsible for that portion of
your mongrel heritage,Just a little input for Dutch and Cherokee

March 19, 2006 1:13 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

Hiya, Pappy! Looks as though blogspot decided to start accepting comments again; I've heard from a number of people (yourself included) that it wasn't for awhile.

Too bad that St. Patrick just chased those snakes away, instead of exterminating them, huh?

Regarding the Cherokee portion of my mongrel heritage, when is the special day commemorating that, anyhow?!

March 19, 2006 1:26 PM  
Blogger The trotting Possum said...

Good recipe for the Irish stew! The crock pots worked overtime in the Possum Den.

This broke-down ISP finally allows a long-overue comment.

"Erin go bragh!"

March 19, 2006 3:59 PM  
Blogger The trotting Possum said...

overdue^...my bad

March 19, 2006 3:59 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

The trotting Possum:
I used my Crockpot™ last week, for sure.

This blog host is free, so I guess we get what we (don't!) pay for, huh?

March 19, 2006 4:46 PM  

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