Fascinating Facts About St. Patrick’s Day

st-patricks-dayOn St. Patrick’s Day most Americans claim to be Irish for a 24-hour period.  It’s not a bank holiday, but it’s a holiday people take very seriously. It has a long history, but all the traditions and customs have changed over time — some of which are unexpected. Here are a few fascinating facts about St. Patrick’s Day you might not know.

Color of a Nation Just about everyone knows you have to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day or you’ll get pinched. There are many explanations on how this came about. One theory is that it’s worn by fairies and immortals and by farmers to help their crops grow. Another reason is that the Irish tricksters –leprechauns– can’t see you if you’re wearing green. If you’re not wearing green they can see you and they’ll pinch you. A more plausible explanation is that St. Patrick used the three leaves on a shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity so people started wearing green shamrocks. However wearing green started, it evolved into a symbol of pride and nationalism and why we wear green to honor the Irish now.

Mythical Creatures Here’s a little known fact about the leprechauns: they’re protected by European law to prevent extinction. The leprechaun is on a list of items in an area near Carlingford, Ireland designated to preserve the community’s heritage, culture and folklore. It is on a site where a leprechaun was allegedly spotted in 1989.Corned-Beef-and-Cabbage

Fol-caloric Fare For St. Patrick’s, corned beef and cabbage grace the plates of revelers, but you won’t find it in Ireland. It’s actually an Irish-American dish derived from an Irish tradition. In Ireland, they eat bacon and cabbage. Their bacon is a bit different from what we are familiar with. It’s “back bacon” which is a traditional British cut. It’s boiled along with cabbage and other root vegetables. Pigs and cabbage were easy to procure in Ireland, but cows were not. When Irish immigrants started to settle in America, beef was what was available. There are a couple of explanations for how corned beef replaced bacon: some say in the early 20th century Irish laborers were lured to bars that offered a free meal of corned beef and cabbage. Others say early Irish immigrants were drawn to their Jewish comrades’ corned beef because it was comparable to the back bacon they were accustomed to.

Ritual Processions Cities all over the country hold parades every St. Patrick’s Day to honor the Irish. However, the St. Patrick’s Day parade did not start as an Irish tradition. It’s a religious holiday — a day of feast — and in Ireland the day is spent at church and with the family. The first record of St. Patrick’s Day parade was in 1762 when a group of Irish men marched to a tavern in lower Manhattan in New York City. Today it’s the biggest St. Patrick’s Day parade; it attracts more than two million spectators every year.green-beer

Pie-Eyed St. Patrick’s Day falls during Lent, the six week period before Easter in which people of Christian denominations give up indulgences. St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland is used as a break from the fast in which people can partake in excesses like drinking alcohol or eating chocolate; however, until the 1970s, by law pubs in Ireland were closed for the holiday. So, though it’s a big drinking holiday in the United States, beer is not quite as important for St. Patrick’s Day revelry in Ireland.

The Lakeside Collection has ideas and products to make every holiday memorable! Whether you need ideas for hosting a St. Patrick’s Day shindig, or you’re looking for kitchen gadgets for your 4th of July cookout, look to LTD for unique products at unbeatable prices.

Regional Foods for the Big Game

This weekend, the New England Patriots face the Seattle Seahawks for the big showdown in Arizona. From coast to coast, people will be pledging their allegiance to each city — regardless of how they feel about football, challenges abound in many forms. For some, it will be in the kitchen. We love food from every corner of the country — and, while salmon and clam chowder are great to eat, they’re not suited for a game day party. However, we’ve put together a list of football party favorites with regional flair to honor the top two teams. Here are some regional foods for the Big Game.

ChiliChili The perfect accompaniment to a football game on Sunday is chili — every region has their favorite way of serving it, and Seattle and New England are not exceptions.

Seattle In Seattle, a favorite bowl of chili is found at Geraldine’s Counter. They call it the Kick Butt — a fitting name for a super bowl of chili! It has three meats, red beans and plenty of spice to be tempered with a topping if shredded cheddar and sour cream.

New England In New England, their go-to chili is found at the All Star Sandwich Bar. The “Texas State Penn Chili” is different from Seattle’s favorite is that it contains no beans — it’s all meat and spices. And, of course, the meat is shredded beef brisket. As a garnish, the use sour cream, jack cheese and a slice of lime.

Lobster-rollSandwiches As far as food for football goes, you can’t go wrong with a sandwich. They’re easy, compact and you don’t need utensils to eat them. For both Seattle and New England, seafood dominates favorite sandwich fillings.

Seattle Salmon is one of the most popular foods in Seattle — the industry churns out some of the best in the world, so it’s not a surprise people in Seattle like to put it between two slices of bread. At Market Grill at the famous Pike Place Public Market, they serve it blackened on French bread.

New England New England is known for their “chowdah” and all eats sea-related. In the form of a sandwich, the lobster roll, hands down, is a local favorite. The Lobster Pool in Rockport, Massachusetts serves fresh lumps of lobster mixed with mayo on a bed of lettuce wrapped in a buttered, split-top bun. It’s simple, but what makes it really fabulous is that the lobsters are handpicked from neighboring Gloucester every day.

beerBeer Beer and football go hand-in-hand. Both Seattle and New England have a healthy amount of local suds to sip on.

Seattle A safe bet for Seattle-brewed beer is anything from Elysian Brewing Company. It’s been pleasing Seattle beer drinkers for almost two decades — they have a brew pub that’s been rated one of the best in the country by ratebeer.com. If you’re looking for something a little more tame than craft beer, Washington’s Rainier Beer is still on the market.

New England The craft beer industry is thriving in New England — Farmhouse Ale is a New England favorite, but local beers don’t tend to be available to the entire country. If you want to serve New England beer at your party, Sam Adams is still a favorite among New Englanders and it’s available across the United States.

Even if we can’t be in Arizona for the big game or host a party in our favorite team’s town, we can bring a little of it home. A little taste of Seattle or a big bite of New England, give your party for the big game some local flavor with hometown favorites this weekend.