An Irish menu for romance with recipes by Diane Brown
I was faced with an interesting challenge recently. A publicist asked me to participate in a food show and feature a “seductive St. Patrick’s Day” menu. Now, I teach couples cooking classes, I own a company that throws intimate soirees for duos and my current book project is entitled, “Party of Two.” So in honor of the holiday, I offer you this Irish menu I’ve dubbed, Romancing the Blarney Stone.Nobody loves a reason to party as a passionate pair more than I do. But a holiday celebrated with drinking orgies, corned beef, cabbage and tiny green men; I was stumped.
I mused about building a “Kiss the Blarney Stone” menu, treating the rock as a kind of Irish mistletoe. But ponder this for a moment: A ritual involving thousands of lips pursing and drooling over an impossible to reach stone. Somehow, that just didn’t seem sexy.
Finally, it came to me: St. Patrick’s Day is a glorious way to celebrate the coming of spring. After all, it’s the most sumptuous season, bursting with sensuality and bloom. Associated with the vernal color, green, it ties in a festive way to welcome the seasonal change. Around this concept, I could build an Irish menu!
Irish food heritage
The rich roots of Irish heritage include delicious, wholesome food like North Atlantic seafood, farm-raised lamb and beef and organic root vegetables. (That, of course, includes the ubiquitous potato.)
Farmers’ markets are intoxicating this time of year, with vivid green peas, earthy leeks, and emerald artichokes. These are all inspiring ingredients for an Irish menu. And the good news for lovers? Many of these foods are aphrodisiac fodder. Salmon, cod, and lobster are the fruits of Aphrodite. They have beneficial contents of phosphorous, iodine and zinc, essential for testosterone production. Leeks were favored as a love enhancement by the ancient Greeks and Romans. So much that Emperor Nero was said to have eaten leek soup every day. Even the lowly potatoes’ lore includes a history where Amazonian women ate them to stimulate their sex drive. Potatoes are said to have the same affect on the body as chocolate; they increase serotonin levels, enhancing a feeling of well-being.
Celebrate the Irish should incorporate a nod to their festive libations. This includes Irish whisky and the heady stout, Guinness.
And you shouldn’t forget their incomparable, spirited music that ranges from rock and folk music to Celtic sounds: U2, Enya, Van Morrison, Damien Rice, The Cranberries, The Chieftains and the Young Dubliners. And everyone loves an Irish toast, ranging from sage to witty. It’s easy to see how this element of their heritage can fit into the plan for an Irish menu.
My recommendation is to keep the this a chic and light-hearted party. This Irish menu was meant for St. Patrick’s Day with an intimate party of two. But, of course, if your lover has a passion for Irish flare, you could use this menu any day in spring.
Start your night by sipping an unusual libation, the Black Velvet. The drink combines Guinness with Champagne. Sup on Irish stew with an elegant twist, North Atlantic salmon with a buttery sauce. And spin Irish music like Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks or Enya’s Shephard Moons. And raise your glass to share a toast: Here’s to me, and here’s to you, and here’s to love and laughter. I’ll be true as long as you, and not one moment after.
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