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March 14 Irish

March 14, 2001

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day



By KEVIN CLAPP

kevinc@herald-mail.com

Is eating a bowl of Lucky Charms enough to satisfy your inner shamrock on St. Patrick's Day?

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If not, there will be ample opportunity to sample cuisine from the Emerald Isle Saturday at The Corner Pub, 158 S. Mulberry St. in Hagerstown. Just be sure to get there early - people tend to pack the local watering hole tighter than the bounty in a pot o' gold.

Take last year, for instance. The Pub's general manager, Craig Spriggs, says he began serving corned beef and cabbage at 11:30 a.m. By 6:30 p.m. - 80 pounds of corned beef later - he was sold out.

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"I think in the back of people's minds they're thinking: Corned beef and cabbage, green beer, St. Patrick's Day," Spriggs says. "And of course, everybody's Irish on St. Patrick's Day."

Last year, Spriggs used the week before St. Patrick's to offer Irish dishes besides the American staple of corned beef and cabbage.

This year, he will serve a sausage, potato, onion and rasher (bacon) dish called Dublin Coddle. Served in a bread bowl, Spriggs says the meal - a traditional weekend holiday dish - is almost like a stew.

"That's been a Dublin St. Patrick's dish forever," Spriggs says.

Conrad Bladey of Linthicum, Md., teaches a class in pub lore, "A Celebration of Irish Culture: A Journey to an Irish Pub," at Harford Community College. He also has been known to prepare Irish spiced beef the old-fashioned way, a seven-day process.

"Irish cooking is very, very wonderful cooking," he says. "Most people are drawn to it because it has a very different flavor."

That comes from the use of scallions and spices such as nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon.

"It flavors the whole house," says Bladey, who frequents an Irish pub in Baltimore each St. Patrick's Day.

"This food is as part of the culture as the dance," he says. "It's just something you wouldn't do without."

Why has Irish fare such as corned beef and cabbage endured year after year?

"I mean, why do you eat turkey at Christmas? A lot of people have turkey or ham or just ham. It's just become a family tradition thing," Spriggs says. "I think it's the same way with St. Patrick's Day. You've got to have your corned beef."

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