I don’t have an ounce of Irish blood in me. But does that really matter? I don’t have any Mexican blood in me but I enjoy cooking for Cinco de Mayo just as well. Holidays create themes around food. Menus and routines you learn to look forward to each year. Easter means brunch at my mom’s house. Thanksgiving is a double meal, a new traditional but always consistent menu at my aunt & uncle’s house followed by a more classic menu with variety year over year. And St. Patrick’s Day means chocolate, booze and an unneeded reason to roast cabbage.
I’m not Irish, not in the littlest bit. A pure bred Polish girl is what you’re looking at. But when my mom remarried over a decade ago, she chose an Irishman, with roots from Northern Ireland, just outside Belfast. I met his family for 5 minutes when they came for the wedding in 2001. When I really met them for first time we went to Ireland in 2002 and spent barely a week with them, but they welcomed me like I had always been part of the family. Two years later when my friend and I backpacked across Europe, my stepfather’s parents welcomed us into their home and insisted on taking us to visit every tourist location and castle within a 50 mile radius. I swear his mom, then in her 70s had more spunk and energy than we did at 21. We weren’t allowed to sleep in or lounge around–there was always something to see and do. His niece, my cousin in law, took us out on the town in Belfast and introduced us to Spuds (loaded baked potatoes–the Irish solution to our late night post bar diner food). So while I have no actual Irish blood in me, I think a bit has rubbed off.