Since the beginning, the spirit and mission of Alexandria Catherine Events has been to encourage connection with the past to make the present (your events!) shine and to make reflecting on those moments in the future that much more special. With St. Patrick's Day approaching, we felt it was appropriate for us to let you inside a bit of what the holiday means to a member of our team and why it's so special to her. Below, our intern Molly shares a memory that she and her family cherish. We hope that you enjoy it!
Growing up, there were only a few things that I knew about my great-grandmother, or Mimi as we called her. The first was that we knew we weren't to make her mad. The second was that she was going to make a lot of food, and we were expected to eat all of it without complaining. Finally, Mimi was 100% Irish and proud of it.
Mimi loved my name for being so Irish and when I was born I was a redhead much to her pleasure. I have memories of visiting her at her home by the beach and as we got closer you could spot the house from a mile away - forest green and white with a matching shed. The color palate didn't change much inside either, although there was plenty of orange tossed in.
No matter the time of year, even in the heat of summer, Mimi would have some Irish stew on the stove and we were expected to eat all of it. When she passed, my Uncle was clearing out one of her 'off-limits' chests and found documents of hers.
After reviewing these documents, we discovered that my great-grandmother was actually born in a small town right outside of Liverpool, London. For years, she'd convinced us that she was right from Ireland, and we think she believed it herself. We later found out through ancestry research that... wait for it.. I am 0% Irish. Despite this, I feel a connection to the Irish heritage, even if it isn't mine. I was raised Irish and cherish the traditions and culture. Some parts of her beliefs rubbed off on me, and especially on St. Patrick's Day, I still love to pretend I'm Irish.
Unfortunately, recipe to Mimi's Irish Stew wasn't found in the documents and so my family has been left to attempt recreations. Here is my mother's rendition, which is very similar:
Mimi's (Who Is Not So Irish) Stew
2/3 cup uncooked pearled barley
1 tsp. salt
4 cups boiling water
2 tbsp. margarine/butter
1 large shallots/onion, diced fine
3 stalks of celery, diced fine
1 large carrot, diced fine
2 tsp dried carrots, or 6 tsp of fresh, chopped fine
1 cup (1/4 lb.) diced, cooked roast beef
14 cups water, divided (4 cups of water + 10 cups of water)
5 beef bouillon cubes
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/4 tsp. dried minced garlic
1 tbsp. parsley flakes
(1) Combine barley, salt and 4 cups of boiling water in saucepan until barley is soft (30-40 minutes). Drain in colander, rinse well with cold water. Set aside.
(2) Heat margarine in saucepan and sauté onion, celery, carrots and shallots until soft.
(3) Add beef, 10 cups of water, bouillon cubes, salt, pepper and garlic.
(4) Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer for 15 minutes.
(5) Add parsley flakes and barley. Cook for 10 minutes longer. If necessary: add water.
(6) Combine all together and serve. Enjoy!