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THE IRISH KITCHEN
Margaret Johnson is perhaps
the most prolific Irish-American writer of topics dealing with Irish
food and drink. Holding dual citizenship in the US and Ireland,
Margaret is the author of five Irish
Cookbooks, An Afternoon Tea cookbook titled 'Tea and Crumpets', and has authored more than 200 food and travel articles
in a number of publications, including the "Irish Echo," "Irish
America Magazine," the "Los Angeles Times Syndicate," "Newsday," and Dublin's "Food and Wine" magazine.
To see what else Margaret has to offer, why not visit her website
at www.irishcook.com and www.margaretmjohnson.com.
In Ireland, many traditional dishes are associated with festivals and feast days from both the Celtic calendar of the Druids and the newer Christian calendar. Colcannon (from the Irish cal ceann fhionn , or "white-headed cabbage"), a mashed potato dish flavored with kale or cabbage, is the main dish of the Halloween (All Hallow's Eve) dinner. Its origins may lie in the need to use up the last leafy vegetables in the fall garden. In keeping with tradition, a carefully wrapped gold ring is placed in one of the bowls and the diner who finds it is likely to marry within the coming year. While a true colcannon is made with cooked, finely chopped kale, cabbage is also used. Like many Irish dishes, it is celebrated in song:
Did you ever eat colcannon When 'twas made with yellow cream And the kale and praties blended Like the picture in a dream?
Did you ever take a forkful And dip it in the lake Of heather-flavored butter That your mother used to make?
Oh, you did, yes you did! So did he and so did I, And the more I think about it Sure, the more I want to cry.
God be with the happy times When trouble we had not, And our mothers made Colcannon In the little three-legged pot.