This morning, before the snow started coming down in earnest, I went to the grocery store. In terms of creativity, this was not one of my finer moments. Nor, I have to say, is heading to Waldbaums shortly before a snowstorm something that a smart man would do. But I did it. And I admit it.
It all had to do with forgetting to buy corned beef earlier in the week.
You see, my kids have this idea that on St. Patrick’s Day, we boil some beef all day before shoving it in the oven for a half hour or so with a healthy heaping of brown sugar on top of the slab. The sugar does nothing for the health value of the meal, but it makes the holiday dinner taste something akin to desert, so the kids naturally love it. I figure there’s no point in eating healthy to honor our Irish ancestry. It just doesn’t fit with the whole Irish food ethos.
So, anyway, at Waldbaums I saw lines stretching from the registers back to somewhere near the frozen waffles. It looked pretty scary. But I was not about to disappoint my children tomorrow.
I made my way back to the meat section only to find a mere handful of the most godawful-looking corned beef I’d seen since, well, ever. And that includes a few months in the British isles.
A helpful fellow behind the counter said a new truckload was coming in momentarily. I couldn’t get the image out of my head of a semi trailer loaded with corned beef. It is a troubling picture.
I opted instead to head over to Stop & Shop, a store that is unfailingly pleasant. Maybe it’s the union help. Though it, too, was jammed, at least the registers were rushing people through without undue delay. It also had lots of corned beef, making my particular expedition well worth the effort.
So all of this is just another long-winded way of saing that when I should be shoveling Saturday, I’ll instead be carving the fat off the corned beef and tossing it in the pot. And at the end of the day, we’ll eat it, gladly, and perhaps give a passing thought to Thomas and Mary and Christopher and Mary and our other Irish ancestors, half of them named Mary, who hustled off to America rather than starve in Ireland.
Thank God they made it to this land, where the luck of the Irish has been far more evident than it’s ever been in Ireland itself.