St. Patrick’s Day Bash- Twice Gone Now

Jimmy awakes at the crack of dawn. He usually saves a personal day for the preparation. But, the last two St. Patrick’s Day bashes have been canceled due to Covid. So, Jimmy did not need to save a personal day because we would not have our usual crowd of anywhere between 30 to 50 people. He prepares the corned beef and he fills the pot with water and spices. The pot is so big that it has to be filled with the sink hose.

Then he heads out to work and I get ready for work and the boys start day number 1 million of virtual school. The cauldron boils on the stove for hours and the kitchen is steamy with the cooking meat. I imagine that my kitchen is growing greener, Ireland green, from the water that is condensing and rolling down the stove and the fridge. The work of making this meal and the connection that Jimmy and I get to feel to relatives and ancestors and to his parents, nourishes me.

I lift the cymbal-like lid and it drips liquid on to the floor. Odie comes rushing over to lick up the mess. He has been living in the intensity of cooking meat smell for the whole day so far. He deserves some corned beef juice at the very least.

Some relatives from Ireland message us and friends from the Hoag-Nolan clan reach out to say how much they miss the Bash. People would come to our apartment in the Bronx and we would barely fit some years. Some years, once you had your seat, you had to ask someone to get your second helping for you because there was no real way to move easily.

One year, we ordered 75 pounds of corned beef for our party and the Queens butcher I picked it up from asked me, “What restaurant do you work for?” I laughed the whole way home. No restaurant. Just my apartment.

After my work day is over, I head out to get some heads of cabbage and 5 three pound bags of potatoes. Once home, I begin the peeling. Fifteen pounds of potatoes and I work on them for 30 minutes. My cutting tool of choice is a small paring knife. My mom taught me how to peel this way when I was younger. Most people I know peel with a peeler. The knife is perhaps more risky but also more precise I think. My boys always worry that I will cut myself when I am cutting this way.

Another hour or two more of boiling and Jimmy is home. The boys want to know if they can eat now and Jimmy says, “It smells like meat in here.” He immediately clangs the cymbal lid and lifts the beef out of the spiced water with the meat fork. Before I even leave my work seat, he is taste testing. He kisses me on the cheek. Maybe it was the corned beef but it could also be me, I think. I am Irish after all. Of course he needs to kiss me.

I am secretly glad he has kissed me on the cheek. All three of them have seconds. I fish out a giant potato and some cabbage. I reheat a turkey burger left over from last night. Everyone is so happy with dinner. It still feels like a party a little. I love corned beef, cabbage and potatoes because of how it makes us all feel.

But secretly, I do not eat corned beef. I do not like it.

4 thoughts on “St. Patrick’s Day Bash- Twice Gone Now

  1. soundofwaterblog

    That made me laugh out loud, thank you VERY much. I too do not like corned beef and for years have been forced into many a bald-faced lie, while eating a thousand plates of potatoes and cabbage. I am sorry you have missed your bash, but let’s hope for next year!

    Reply
  2. Natalie Dunne

    It’s so hard not having traditional parties that fill us with camaraderie, happiness, and nostalgia. We host a Halloween and a Christmas party each with for our friends and it hurt not having them. Really really hoping we can this year.

    Great slice.

    Reply

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