Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated all over the country, with common staples such as green beer, and corned beef and cabbage. Most cities celebrate with a parade shutting down their downtown streets with marching bands, and street sellers hawking green balloons, and anything shamrock.
Chicago, Illinois is probably best known for the parade they present, but also for the fact that the Chicago River magically turns an Irish green overnight every year. A tradition carried out since 1961.
“I was told a man named Stephen Bailey got the idea when he realized that the dye they used to detect leaks got into the river turning it the perfect shade of green,” said longtime Chicago resident Kathy Gateriewitcz. “I look forward to going downtown every year to see the river, it’s become a tradition for me.”
The dye is actually orange in color and is poured into the river by Mike Butler. As the dye reaches the surface, it has an orange tint, but after a few seconds it turns green. Other cities have tried to accomplish the same thing but have been unsuccessful over the years.
Another tradition for Saint Patrick’s Day is corned beef and cabbage washed down with green beer.
“Though cabbage is a common staple in Ireland, corned beef actually isn’t,” said set designer Michael Mulligan. “Corned beef was actually something that Irish immigrants used instead of Irish bacon because it had a similar taste and texture to it, but was cheaper to purchase.”
Whatever the reason, corned beef and cabbage is served traditionally every year on most restaurant menus and most area pubs, including here in San Diego, along with an ice cold green beer.
Suggestions on what to do and where to go this St. Patrick’s Day:
29th Annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival: www.stpatsparade.org
Gaslamp Quarter’s ShamROCK: www.gaslamp.org/articles/articles/shamrock.html
Saint Patrick’s Day 10K Run: www.kathyloperevents.com/stpatrick
Saint Patrick’s Day Open Reading of Irish Poetry and Prose: www.dgwillsbooks.com
Just in case you don’t get the chance to partake in the tradition around the city, you may just want to do so in the comfort in your own home.
Below is the recipe for Corned Beef and Cabbage and Green Beer.
CROCK POT CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE
3-4 lb. corned beef brisket
1 cup water
12 oz. beer
2 onions chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. yellow mustard
¨ cup brown sugar
8 wedges of cabbage
salt and pepper to taste
Corned beef seasoning packet
In a 4-6 quart crockpot, combine carrots and onions. Rinse corned beef under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Place in crockpot and sprinkle with contents of seasoning mix. Pour beer over brisket and spread mustard on brisket. In small bowl mix brown sugar with water and pour over brisket. Cover crockpot and cook on low setting for 11-12 hours.
Add cabbage wedges during last 30-40 minutes, cover crockpot and cook on high until cabbage is tender. Offer additional mustard on the side. Eight servings.
Green food coloring added to a decent light amber beer.