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Gretchen’s Cookbook

Whining and Dining with Samantha Cardimon

Erin Go Bragh

Well, faith and begorrah and pogue mahone! After all these years I may actually wear green on St. Patrick's Day rather than my traditional orange. (The sounds you now hear are my dear old Mum clutching her chest in martyred agony and my good friend Kathy Sykes sobbing with joy.) Yes, I may have to recognize that I’m more Irish than I've previously admitted.

In addition to all the Blarney I spout on a daily basis, and the Irish melancholy I can lapse into when my Whining and Dining Omnimedia stock dips, I have found that St. Patrick and I seem to have a few things in common. Apparently the patron saint of Ireland was actually born in Wales and was originally named Maewyn. Up until about the age of 16, old Paddy really considered himself something of a pagan. At that age he was captured by a bunch of marauding Irishmen and sold into slavery. During his six years of captivity he decided that a career as the prisoner of a bunch of Irish hooligans wasn't all that it was cracked up to be. So, he got his act together, escaped to Gaul, and entered the Church.

While in patron saint school, Maewyn underwent one of those extreme makeover things, changed his name to Patrick, and set about converting pagans to Christianity. Seems he got good enough at the whole conversion thing that he was appointed as the second bishop of Ireland. Although the Celtic Druids took a dim view of all the members they were losing (they arrested Patrick on several occasions to try to stem the tide), the Church and the rest of Ireland liked him well enough and got on board the Paddy wagon. So to speak. Himself (as the Irish would say) is also credited with the ability to raise the dead and of driving all the snakes from the Emerald Isle. Frankly, I think all the re-animated dead people simply scared the snakes and they high-tailed it out of there.

So, in reading about St. Patrick, I've noticed some parallels between the two of us. I, too, was born in a far-away land o'heathens. (Cleves, Ohio makes Wales look like Euro Disney.) For many a year I considered myself a pagan. And I was kidnapped and held captive - by my mother-in-law. Like a ticked-off Druid, my mother-in-law also took a dim view of my pagan practices. Maybe it was the voodoo doll hanging in my closet...

Fortunately, my indentured servitude was a bit shorter (only four years as opposed to the great saint's six) as I escaped to another country. Well, okay. I only escaped to Collegeville. Whatever. While I'm certainly no saint and I can't raise people from the dead (you can blame someone else for the inevitable Zombie Apocalypse, thank you), I can at least drive all the dust bunnies from my house. Sort of. Maybe not all of them. I mean, who really looks under the bed?

Because of our shared experiences Paddy and I have kind of bonded. I think it’s only fair, then, that I wear some green for him on March 17. And if himself were actually here today we'd probably be watching reruns of "Father Ted" and eating…

Hot Corned Beef Buns

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