Oh, this is going to be a great week! Daylight Savings time is here, and the winter doldrums are officially finished. St. Patrick’s Day provides the perfect occasion to celebrate the arrival of light, even if you aren’t fortunate enough to have a drop of Celtic blood in your genetic history. Trust me, the Irish among us won’t mind a bit- the more the merrier! The great thing about any good cultural celebration is the unique foods that abound on the Feast Day. I’m a big believer in Feast Days, and have been known to create one of my own if an official holiday isn’t on the calendar soon enough. Irish food is wholesome and hearty, made with nutritious ingredients which a Farmers Market manager can heartily support.
Corned Beef (just means ‘salted’ as a method of preserving), cabbage, root vegetables such as turnips, potatoes, and carrots, or Irish Stew- these are classics for the day. Add some home baked Irish Soda bread served with fresh butter, and you’ll be fueled up for ploughing the field and planting the potato crop. Now, if you wash it down with dark ale, the ploughing may get put off for another day.
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Nancy Lachel, who knows a thing or two about making bread, will be baking her Irish Soda Bread on Wednesday. She only makes it once a year, so if you really want a loaf, be sure to come to the Farmers Market early or give us a call and we’ll set a loaf aside for you! We’re just starting to get some early veggies in, but maybe you have a hill of potatoes in your garden that haven’t been harvested yet? Ellen sometimes shares her garden carrots which have been wintering beneath the soil, and fresh Kale from Judy’s garden arrived last week. This puts me in the mood for planting the garden, but last weeks frosty weather tells me that most seeds wouldn’t survive if (?!?) another cold snap comes our way. But it won’t hurt to try a row of lettuce, and if it makes it, I’ll be unbearably smug.
The City of Hoquiam has an Irishman as mayor, and I’m betting that Jack will be first in line for the city’s cancer team fundraiser at 11:45on Wednesday. For a mere $5.00, and you know that’s a bargain, you can feast on all-you-can-eat corned beef and cabbage, Irish stew, shepherd’s pie, Irish soda bread, Irish Cream cheesecake, and key lime pie! That’s at City Hall from 11:45 until 1:30. If we were in Boston, they’d be shutting down work after lunch and heading off to the pub, but we’re outnumbered here by Scandinavians. They have a strong work ethic and probably disapprove of daytime drinking. Work will proceed as usual. Which doesn’t mean that you can’t put some Irish music on to play and jig your way thru the rest of the day.
Oh, and don’t forget to wear something green. Evidently this is an American custom, supposedly started as a sneaky method of becoming invisible to Leprechauns. I guess every single Leprechaun is color blind to green? Anyway, the little people are notorious for pinching people, and being pinched if you aren’t wearing green reminds you of the peril you place yourself in by not wearing green. As if we didn’t have enough things to worry ourselves about, I’m supposed to live in fear of Leprechauns too!
Having blabbed my age in this column 2 weeks ago, you know that I grew up in the era of psychedelic rock music and all the craziness that went along with the early 70's. Jimi Hendrix was The Man when it came to guitar madness, and he was practically a hometown boy, coming from Seattle. On those rare occasions when the radio plays a Jimi Hendrix tune, I have to pull the car over, close my eyes, and allow myself to be transported in time. I am, of course, very selective with my memories. I never did see Jimi in concert, but this Friday night the D & R Theater is hosting Randy Hansen, tribute artist/impersonator who is widely known as the next best thing. We have 3rd row center tickets. My husband has never quite forgiven his mother for not giving him permission to go to a Hendrix concert back when. I’ll hear the story again this Friday night.
If you want to really get in the mood for the concert (now stop thinking that, it isn’t where I was headed!) you can pick up fabulous tie dye duds at the Farmers Market- Shirley even makes tie dye undies in case you want to keep your rock star look undercover.
Is Saturday marked on your calendar? The Vernal Equinox, more commonly known as Spring (!!!) arrives, and yes indeed this is yet another occasion for feasting. Luckily for us, the Grays Harbor Chamber of Commerce has chosen Saturday for the Expo Grays Harbor and, ta-da! ,The Bite of Grays Harbor. This means that your feasting can include the best food in Grays Harbor, all in one place. Nancy will be there with her exquisite bakery goodies, and Deidra’s Deli will be whipping up great food and serving 3 kinds of soup. I love soup. I’ve been known to have soup for breakfast. I plan on getting soup to go, because she’ll have Taco soup, Chicken Curry soup, and Cream of Asparagus soup and even a full time soup eater like me can’t do justice to all 3 at once.
So come on over to Aberdeen High School, festivities go from 9am until 4pm. The exhibits are fascinating- I always love visiting each booth upstairs. The City of Hoquiam will be in the Bobcat gymn, teamed up with the Hoquiam Business Association and Entezar Development to brag up happenings on our end of town. Tickets will be available for the April 3rd Johnny Cash Tribute concert at the 7th St. Theatre- this is another one you don’t want to miss!
There are many choice Irish Blessings- this one pleases my heart to pass along to you;
Wishing you always...
Walls for the wind,
A roof for the rain
And tea beside the fire.
Laughter to cheer you,
Those you love near you,
And all that your heart may desire
Barbara Bennett Parsons, part Irish, part Scottish, part English. In other words, Celtic to the core! Manager of the Hoquiam Farmers Market, open Wed. Thru Sun. 538-9747