Friday, March 17, 2006

More Than Whiskey and Shamrocks

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

If you're celebrating today by wearing the green, pinning a shamrock on your collar, or hoisting a pint of Guiness or a shot of Irish whiskey--spare a minute to honor the early Christian monks of the Emerald Isle who preserved the literary heritage of Western Civilization from the turmoil of the Dark Ages in continental Europe. (Read How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill for the whole story.)

While continental Europe sank into illiteracy and chaotic warfare during the Dark Ages, the monks of the Emerald Isle carefully copied and preserved the essential books of the faith and Western Culture. March 17th originally was the feast day of St. Patrick and marked the bringing of Christianity to Ireland by that early missionary in the early fifth century.

Today the observance has become almost entirely a secular celebration of Irish culture and national pride, but there has also been a rekindling of interest in the faith and practice of Celtic Christianity because of its emphasis on the unity of the secular and the spiritual realms and its more equal treatment of women.

The Celts include the Scots as well as the Irish--which makes me about half Celt. I'll be wearing the something green today as I give thanks for the faithfulness of those unnamed Irish monks whose life's work preserved the foundations of our faith and classical learning that benefit us today. How different our history and life would be without that legacy!

Babs has been home for a few days for spring break and is determined to cook a special Irish-themed dinner tonight. We decided to make grilled lamb chops (because El Jefe won't eat Irish stew or mutton) and string beans. Inspired by a recent Rachel Ray show on the Food Channel,
Babs is also going to make colcannon--which is a mashed potato and kale side dish.

Kale is not easy to find in the Houston area, so we made a trip to Central Market and got it.
(P. S.: Central Market is one of the 7 wonders of Houston--if you're ever in town, you must visit it). We've never cooked kale OR colcannon before, so it will be an adventure! Don't tell--we cheated and bought Irish soda bread instead of baking it ourselves. El Jefe has some Harp's lager on ice and we're going to make Irish coffee for dessert.

What's on tap at your place this day?


Canticles said...

We have Central Market here in Dallas. We <3 it so much!!!

Tonight is my husband's birthday, so we're going out for dinner, a movie (V for Vendetta) and probably a bit of karaoke... ;)

Gannet Girl said...

QG, I am trying to figure out how to email you but can't find an email link anywhere on your site. Could you email me? Thanks!

Michael W. Kruse said...

Love the Cahill book. One of my favorites.

Purechristianithink said...

Hmmm--not so sure about the Harps Lager on ice. Don't the Irish drink their beer at room temp?