Folks all across the US celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by wearing green, drinking beer, parading in the streets, and proudly proclaiming, “Kiss me, I’m Irish” – whether they’re really Irish or not.
They do all these things, despite the fact that St. Patrick’s official color is pale blue (not green), pubs in Ireland were forced to close on March 17 for many years (to discourage revelers from getting drunk during Lent), St. Paddy’s Day parades originated in Colonial America (not in Ireland), and even St. Patrick himself was not Irish. He was born in Britain and was taken as a young boy to Ireland in the 4th century by raiders who held him captive there for six years.
Our family has been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day for nearly thirty years now with an equally non sequitur tradition, something we call a “Leprechaun Lunch.” The menu varies from year to year, but the theme remains the same: Everything’s green!
Feed Me, I’m Irish
In the beginning, I served convenience foods on our all-green menu:
- lime jello
- white grapes (they look green)
- Granny Smith apples
- chips and guacamole
- sugar snap peas
- clover leaf cookies coated with green sugar sprinkles
- Paddy’s Punch (1/2 gallon lime sherbet mixed with a 2 liter bottle ginger ale)
Not necessarily a well-balanced meal, I’ll admit. But it was only one day a year, so I didn’t worry about that much. Especially when the pickiness of my little eaters and my own current stage of pregnancy or post partum-ness made attempts at anything more involved seem ill-advised.
On years when my energy and the children’s enthusiasm were high, we’d round out the meal with other green cuisine:
- green bell peppers with pesto hummus
- broccoli slaw
- bite-sized spinach and mushroom frittatas (these are yummy and so easy to make)
- pesto pasta
- green bean casserole
- colcannon with kale (Irish mashed potato dish)
- sliced honeydew melon and kiwi fruit
- Hershey kisses wrapped in green foil
This Year’s Menu
Over the years, the fare we prepare has gotten decidedly more healthful, since I’m one of those fortunate moms whose kids actually like eating their vegetables. Here’s what’s on the menu this year:
- split pea soup
- sugar snap peas & zucchini rounds with hummus
- spinach & avocado wraps (made with green tortillas)
- cucumber salad
- spinach soufflé
- steamed broccoli
- roasted Brussels sprouts
- parmesan asparagus
- broccoli and cauliflower salad
- green salsa with tortilla chips
- white grapes & kiwi fruit salad
- Paddy’s Punch (1/2 gallon of lime sherbet mixed with a 2-L bottle of ginger-ale
- ice water with limes
As you can see in the photo above, our celebration has grown over the years and now includes grandkids, too.
Six more things you should know about this photo:
- It was actually taken yesterday, since we had to have our Leprechaun Lunch early this year.
- That’s because we all went to Houston today to be with Samuel (that’s him in the center of the back row) for Match Day. Today’s the day everyone in his medical school class finds out where they’ll be going next year for residency.
- Samuel and the two brothers to his right are actually all the same height — Joseph and Benjamin are just exceptionally good at standing on tip-toe!
- Dad was on call and had to miss the celebration (which was okay by him, as he’s not quite as fond of veggies as the rest of us. 🙂
- David and Bonnie missed lunch, too, as they are in Tennessee, getting ready for the birth of our first granddaughter (due in July), followed by an Army-facilitated move to Germany.
- Bethany missed our green-themed meal, as well, since she spent spring break in Minnesota and California visiting friends.
More resources for St. Paddy’s Day
For more family-friendly ideas for celebrating this quirky holiday, check out my St. Patrick’s Day Pinterest board or the following St. Patrick’s Day post.
Deborah Bolles says
Thank you so much for this list of “green” foods. I am in charge of our Sunday School class fellowship this month and “celebrating green” is the theme. Having a green food potluck, playing bingo on green cards with shamrocks as the bingo buttons, decorating in all green, bingo prizes are green plants and green containers of green wrapped candy, etc. Your food list is going to be a great help for those bringing food. Love your blog.
Jennifer Flanders says
So glad to be of service, Deborah. Your fellowship sound like lots of fun. I love the idea of shamrock bingo and green prizes. We may have to incorporate that idea into our St. Patrick’s Day celebrations this year, too!