Don't Try This At Home

I'm a little late in posting a St. Patrick's Day message - rather too busy enjoying the weekend with the family.

Yesterday was filled with low-key fun: hanging out with the kids, enjoying Charlie's hockey game (6-2 win, pulling them back to the top of their league playoffs), grocery shopping, feasting on traditional corned beef, champ, and kale, finished up with some completely non-traditional escapist relaxation - watching Casino Royale on DVD (terrific stuff).

For those who might be wondering: yes, I did fall off the wagon. The bottle of 16 year old Bushmill's Malt in the cupboard was calling to me. We figured St. Pat's was the one day we should all be allowed to relax our Lenten abstinence just a little.

On which note, there's a little booklet that has been knocking around our kitchen for years, featuring "Favourite Irish Recipes". I've no idea where this came from, but it's a great little sampler of traditional Irish fare.

Paging through it yesterday morning, I found a page that startled me. In between the recipes for Cod's Roe and Urney Pudding, the most unusual recipe in the book has to be the one for something euphemistically described as "Potato Wine". That's not quite what we would have called it growing up. Mountain Tea or Poitín would be more like it.

The recipe calls for 2lb of potatoes, 2lb of raisins, 4lb of brown sugar, 1 pint of fresh wheat (de-husked), water, yeast, and a Campden tablet. This is one recipe I've no intention of trying out (although I'll confess I'm tempted). Distilling such a concoction in Canada (and most other parts of the World), even if only for home consumption, wouldn't be legal. But I'm fascinated by the description provided, by the closing advice to "take care to judge the potency of the brew!" and, most of all, I'm just quietly delighted to encounter this recipe in such an innocuous little volume.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you - whatever you're drinking.

"Too much of anything is good for nothing. Too much good whiskey is barely enough."