Green Potatoes? Must Be St. Patrick's Day

By Scattergood, Augusta | The Christian Science Monitor, March 5, 2008 | Go to article overview

Green Potatoes? Must Be St. Patrick's Day


Scattergood, Augusta, The Christian Science Monitor


My younger daughter was born one day shy of St. Patrick's Day. We named her Kate for her Great-Aunt Kitty because we loved the name, not because she was Irish. I didn't understand then that a strong ancestral link could be forged with a country across the sea. My family hails from a part of the country that when asked, "Where did your people come from?," the answer is probably Virginia or South Carolina. Our connections are more local than global.

Then I moved to the North, to a street filled with Maloneys and Callahans who named their children Meghan and Timmy, Margaret Mary, and Patrick. And I learned a thing or two about being Irish.

I learned I'd better wear green on St. Patrick's Day or risk being pinched by a leprechaun. I learned to have at least a passing familiarity with the lyrics to "Danny Boy." I learned to identify the green, white, and orange of my neighbor's flag of Ireland.

And those things I call biscuits? The ones my family slathered with butter or honey, served with fried chicken, and passed piping hot around the Sunday dinner table? The Irish throw in currants or plumped-up raisins, serve them with clotted cream and homemade preserves, and call them scones.

My friend Edel is a transplanted Dubliner, a gourmet cook, and a terrific hostess. When she invites her girlfriends for a chin-wag and a spot of tea, I know that along with lively conversation, I'll sample the most delicious scones ever to pop out of an oven.

Last March, when she visited me in Florida, she agreed to prepare St. Patrick's Day dinner. The menu featured her mother's colcannon, a dish made with potatoes and kale. But kale proved elusive.

At the sixth Publix super-market we visited, we found a helpful produce man. "Do you have any kale?" we asked after a search turned up nothing. It was the wrong time of year, he had just sold the last bag, and it wasn't a highly requested item in our area.

But he offered to check the new deliveries. With great hope, we waited. …

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