A Word On Food: St. Patrick’s Day

We are on the cusp of a day that is steeped in a mix of traditions. The prevailing one is of strong drink and celebrations across the land! Like many traditions things began in a much different way than they are today. Here’s a biggie. St. Patrick was born in England … not Ireland. In fact he was captured from the relatively wealthy home he lived in by Irish pirates … and held as a prisoner in Ireland. He was still practically a boy at the time. Alone, in a strange land with foreign customs and frightened. He turned to religion. But before we leave the world of mythology surrounding the Saint … let us dispel another bit of bunk. He did not drive the snakes out of Ireland. But he did escape Ireland after years of captivity and returned to his native England. His religious calling was so strong that he willingly returned to the Emerald Isle in an effort to convert the largely pagan followers into Christianity. 

St. Patrick’s Day …. like Chop Suey was invented in America. There is debate as to which geographical place can claim they partied hard first. To my surprise while researching this show one of the leading contenders is Floridian! From the website “History” I read that “Michael Francis unearthed evidence that St. Augustine, Florida, may have hosted America’s first St. Patrick’s Day celebration. While researching Spanish gunpowder expenditure logs, the historian found records that indicate cannon blasts … or gunfire were used to honor the saint in 1600 and that residents of the Spanish garrison town paraded through the streets in honor of St. Patrick the following year, perhaps at the behest of a local Irish priest. 


Now it’s time to hit the ‘Listen on WLRN’ button at the top to hear the remainder of my show. ‘A Word On Food’ airs on WLRN every Saturday around 8:30 a.m. at 91.3 and also 91.5 on the radio. I want to thank so many of you who tell me in person how much you are enjoying the show! Please check out my Instagram photos and my new IG TV cooking videos @normanvanaken 

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