St. Patrick’s Day 2011: Corned beef, beer madness and other ways to celebrate

Each year on March 17, some of the 36 million Americans who claim Irish roots — and perhaps even more who don’t — observe St. Patrick’s Day. And since the first parade observing the holiday was held in New York City in 1762, we’ve been celebrating with a lot of green, a lot of corned beef and a whole lot of beer.


How will you celebrate? (Dayna Smith/The Washington Post )

This year, I was too busy to boil corned beef, too tired to drink green beer and too discombobulated this morning to remember to wear green, so my ability to parade my drop of Irish blood is seriously hindered. But I can offer you these news tidbits to get you through the day I lovingly call ”St. Patty’s”:

Here’s the beef. In 2009, roughly 26.1 billion pounds of beef and 2.3 billion pounds of cabbage were produced in the U.S. My mom makes the best, but she doesn’t have a blog ,so this recipe for beer-cooked corned beef and cabbage should do. If you’re seriously challenged in the culinary department, try this recipe for green beer.

What’s the deal with shamrocks? A shamrock, a three-leaf old white clover, is the floral emblem of Ireland and a symbol of Irish pride. It’s sister, the four-leaf clover, is a little bit harder to find and so is widely considered a symbol of good luck.

Who was St. Patrick? St. Patrick was originally born in Britain, but was captured by Irish raiders and spent six years in Ireland in captivity. As a prisoner, he became a devout Christian; Patrick escaped Ireland but a vision told him to return as a missionary. He died in 461 A.D. More on him here.

What do I need to know about the history of St. Patrick’s Day? This video from The History Channel will teach you about everything you need to know:

• Essential to St. Patrick’s Day: Beer news. Diageo, the British company that owns Guinness, hired mathematicians to invent a way to pour the perfect head on the famous stout. In other news, Silicon Valley start-ups are installing free kegerators, but it turns out there’s a catch to free booze in the workplace — at Yelp, employees must log into an iPad application that records how much they drink.

• And if you’re not lucky enough to work at Yelp, here’s something to do while you’re at work. Our Food section has combined bracket technology with our innate love of beer to produce Beer Madness. Don’t miss your chance to help your favorite brew achieve greatness. If you’re a local, Going Out Guide compiled this list of places to go once happy hour hits. And if you were one of the brave souls out at 7 a.m. this morning for kegs and eggs, we here at BlogPost (me) salute you.

How are you celebrating St. Patrick’s Day? Tell @washingtonpost by using #stpatricksday and I’ll post some of your responses back into this blog.

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