Recently, Michael and I visited Dublin, Ireland and discovered the inspirational St. Ann’s Church off of Grafton Street. What was most memorable to me were the loaves of bread respectfully positioned to the left of the altar on “The Bread Shelf.” The bread, which is changed daily, is a reminder of the of the parish’s historical response to the deprived and hungry during the times of food shortages. “Since 1723, at the bequest of Lord Newton of Newtown Butler, charity still exists. Any person may remove the bread without hindrance or risk of question.” The Irish have a deep rooted understanding of how starvation can effect a nation.
Potato recipes have become a lasting legacy for Irish traditions. From traditional “Irish Breakfast” Potatoes to Potato and Leek Soup we enjoy the versatility and wholesomeness of the potato. Here is one of my favorite recipes:
Potato and Leek Soup
4 large Potatoes, peeled
quarter stick of Butter
Thinly slice the leek and cut the peeled potatoes into chunks. Boil both together until tender. Drain. Cover the cooked potatoes and leeks with cream and slowly bring to a simmer. Add a quarter stick of butter, salt, pepper and 3 tablespoons of finely chopped watercress leaves. Serve hot and top each bowl with a clump of watercress as garnish.
As we celebrate the brilliance of St. Patrick may we also toast to the bounty that fills our own tables.
* The quote reference above is from St. Ann’s Church literature.