My maternal grandmother’s family was from England. My grandfather’s was Native American. On my dad’s side, they were French Canadian. My husband’s family is German and Irish. So, when it comes to nationalities, my kids are a mishmash melting pot of red-headed mush.
Neither one us came from those families with big [insert your heritage here] traditions. We didn’t have spaghetti Wednesdays or celebrate the Feast of Any Fishes. We never put money in shoes or ate cream puffs on Fat Tuesday. We didn’t set leprechaun traps or have an Elf On The Shelf. We kind of just.. were. My mom made Turkey on Thanksgiving at my grandmother’s house, but, other than turkey and mashed potatoes (and plenty of pies) on Thanksgiving, there was nothing that we did or sang or ate year after year. For any holiday. And Rich’s family was the same.
So, having young kids, it has been fun to look into some traditions and come up with our own, mixed bag ‘o tricks for our melting pot of a family.
Now, one of the things that I try very hard to do is get my kids to eat interesting foods. I love new and exciting flavors and trying new things. And I love to cook. But 1/2 of my family doesn’t eat anything. My older son will try (and usually like) anything I put in front of him. My younger son, on the other hand, will automatically dislike anything that is not a hot dog or something coated in sugar (or Pad Thai, for some reason, Pad Thai passed the test). And Rich will eat things, but is never happy about it. So, imagine my surprise when, a few years ago, I made corned beef and cabbage and both kids and husband all liked it (well, the corned beef, at least)! That, my friends, is how tradition is born. Is it yummy? Will they eat it without complaint? Well, then we will do it every year!! It is now tradition!
But, if you know anything about me, you know that I can’t leave it there. This year, I had to take it one step further in the crazy department. This year I decided to corn my own beef. I went to Restaurant Depot and bought an ENORMOUS brisket (it looked like the side of beef that Fred Flintstone ordered that tipped his car over at the beginning of each episode) and butchered it into smaller pieces. Then I made a corning solution with salt and sugar and bay leaves and peppercorns and allspice berries and garlic and all that good stuff and I let it sit for 6 days in my fridge.
Then I took it out and put it in the instant pot with some more broth and spices. I’m not gonna lie. It didn’t look all that great. All pale in the yellowish broth with the sad little bay leaves and peppercorns. But once it came out of the pot, it looked nice and pink and shreddy and delicious. And it was. But my favorite is the cabbage and carrots. Mmm-hmm. All soft and salty from the beef. The boys (and my mom, who came over for the deliciousness) ate almost all of it, including the cabbage, except for the bit I squirreled away because I saw a recipe from “The Kitchen” that uses left over corned beef and pirogi to make a weirdly interesting looking casserole type thing…
Last year, I also made the kids “Shamrock Shakes” and THAT is the part of the tradition that they remembered. So they wanted them again this year. So, after dinner, I threw some ice cream, milk, and mint extract into the blender. Voila. Shamrock Shake. And happy kids (who both need haircuts and who both look weirdly confused in these pics).
So that was our St. Patrick’s Day! The verdict on the home corned beef?! It was delicious. However, I honestly don’t think it was that much better than buying pre-corned beef. And since I don’t need 6 days and valuable fridge space, I will stick with that from now on… so now I need to find some recipes for the rest of the Flintstonian brisket that is in my freezer…
And now the kids went and are sleeping at Grandma’s house, so I plan on having a quiet evening with an audiobook and my scrapbooking! Good night, all, and Happy St. Paddy’s Day!