Happy belated St. Patrick’s Day everyone! St. Patrick’s Day has always been one of my favorite holidays. Growing up this day was always celebrated in my family. My mom is 75% Irish and 25% German, so I have always had a strong connection to my Irish roots. We always ate corned beef, carrots, colcannon (mashed potatoes with cabbage, green onions, and bacon), and Irish soda bread. Once I turned 21, I would wash all that yummy food down with some Guinness.

Mom and me!

My mom’s Irish roots come primarily from her mother (my grandmother) Catherine. My grandma was a strong Irish woman who was the life of the party. Growing up she would always tell us girls that “we came from strong stock”. I never knew what that truly meant until much later in life. Her parents came to America from Ireland to give their family a better life. They worked hard for their family. My grandmother was able to visit Ireland and the town where her parents were from. Going to Ireland has always been on my bucket list. Marek and I were actually supposed to go later this year to celebrate one year of marriage but are not anymore (thanks a lot Covid). I know I will get there one day.

My grandmother, Catherine and my grandfather, Aubrey.

My grandmother passed away when I was a freshman in college. Her loss was very hard for me. I was away at college and got the call right before I took a mid-term. Her funeral was full of laughter and stories (just the way she would have wanted it). After her passing I started wearing a claddagh ring that I found in her room. I have no idea if she actually wore it but when I wore it, I felt a strong connection to her and my Irish roots. I still have that ring that I keep in my jewelry box.

Now that I am older and married, I have wanted to honor her and my Irish roots. So, this year I decided I was going to cook all the traditional food that I ate growing up for my husband and some friends on Saturday. On St. Patrick’s Day we picked up to St. Patty’s Day two meals from the base which were actually pretty good!

About two weeks ago I did my test run of the most important part of the meal, Irish soda bread. My mom sent me the recipe and it turned out ok. Nothing will ever replace my mom’s. My second and third loaves came out much better, so I am learning. My mom told me that “with practice it will be spectacular!!” and that “(she) has been making it for decades.” When I made the second loaf on St. Patrick’s Day, I felt a strong connection to my Irish roots and grandmother.  I hope to pass this tradition down to my future children one day.

I will also be making corned beef, carrots, and colcannon. A lot of people do not know what colcannon is, but it is my second favorite part of the meal. I am not a huge fan of cabbage but when it is combined with mashed potatoes, bacon and butter its pretty good! I did not decorate my house much this year, but I look forward to adding a little bit more in the coming years.

Traditions and feeling connected to one’s roots are so important, and I am happy that both Marek and I feel those strong connections to where our families came from. Now it is time to eat more soda bread!

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