When I was a wee lass, me mother, (a fine red-haired, Irish woman, she was), told me her maiden name, Sullivan, had been simplified from the original. The “O” prefix and awkward spelling were dropped shortly after our ancestor arrived in Virginia.
Irish immigrants always come with a good story and my 6th great grandfather, Darby Owen O’Swillivant, had one to match the best. And would you believe, it’s a food-related tale! Read on . . . .
A Sweet Temptation
As the story goes, young Darby, a teenager at the time, spotted a hot gingerbread cooling on a window sill. The devil got the best of him and he snatched the bread and ran aboard a ship in the nearby harbor to enjoy his ill-gotten gain. He fell asleep and the ship set sail for Virginia. The year was 1688.
To commemorate the event that brought my mother’s forebearer to these shores, I’ve considered serving gingerbread on St. Patrick’s Day. But more often I make Irish Soda Bread or a Shepherd’s Pie filled with meat and vegetables crowned with mashed potatoes.
Servin’ of the Green
This year I’ll cook up a pot of beans and potatoes on St. Patrick’s Day. The dish always brings back memories of stringing and snapping bushels of beans as a youngster. No one was too young or too old to take part. When visiting Virginia relatives, we’d all sit on a side porch under a ceiling fan, with a couple of fly swatters, and a pitcher of iced tea (I’d have grape Kool-Aid). Being well fortified for the summer chore made the task more tolerable.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade at MS&T in Rolla
I’ll be going to the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Rolla again this year. Missouri Science & Technology will be observing their 110th year celebration of the patron saint of engineers, whose statue graces the campus. This is always a festive occasion, steeped in tradition, a time when the main street is literally painted green and the town doubles in size for the weekend.