I’ve mentioned in passing that we deal with a strange allergy in our house. Of all things to afflict a man with the name James Patrick Casey, a potato allergy would seem the least likely. But Irish ancestry notwithstanding, James can’t eat potatoes. Or touch them. Or breathe the air too close to them.
I am the long-suffering wife; visions of smashed red potatoes and tiny fingerlings dancing in my head. Take me out for a plate of french fries and I’ll be your forever friend.
Our potato-free household can mean that St. Patrick’s Day celebrations pose a problem. While we can still pour out a Guinness and offer a cheerful Erin Go Braugh, I can’t say that I don’t miss also indulging in a potato-heavy meal. Growing up, my mom would make a huge pot of potato chowder for St. Patrick’s Day. She’d make an Americanized Irish Soda Bread replete with carraway seeds and currants. My sisters and I would cobble together outfits from every bit of green clothing that we could find. To my friends, I’d brag about the percentage Irish that I’d determined myself to be—conveniently forgetting my French and German and who-knows-what-else ancestry for the day. Kiss me I’m Irish, et cetera.
But this year, I’ve got a brand-new bit of inspiration for a potato-free Ireland-inspired meal. On Tuesday evening I went to the launch of Imen McDonnell’s cookbook: The Farmette Cookbook: Recipes and Adventures from My Life on an Irish Farm in Dumbo. While there are plenty of positively delicious looking potato recipes in the book, the cookbook is also filled with recipes of the non-potato variety. Recipes riff on many traditional Irish meals, but Imen has put a modern twist on the classics.
Maybe best of all, the book is beautiful—the whole thing has a gorgeous springtime aesthetic that has me wanting to go frolicking in the Irish countryside. Not being even one bit ironic. There’s an apple blossom cordial recipe that’s going to have me hightailing it to my parents’ house come apple blossom season; a cream scone recipe that sounds perfectly Irish enough for St. Patrick’s Day with nary a potato in site; and a brambleberry ode to Beatrix Potter that got all my heart patters going.
In case you need a bit of springtime inspiration to add to your repertoire: The Farmette Cookbook is currently for sale online and in local bookstores just about anywhere. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!