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A Feast for St. Patrick's Day

From scones and soda bread to a yummy shepherd's pie, these recipes will bring out your Irish

St. Patrick's Day Celebration

Shepherd's pie — Rivière/photocuisine/Corbis

There’s a saying that on St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish, and the festivities and the food are so beguiling that we don’t want to argue.

St. Patrick’s Day is an Irish holiday celebrated on March 17 to honor the patron saint of Ireland, who was believed to have died on that day in the year 461.

It's a national holiday in Ireland, and all over the world people celebrate Irish culture and history; in the United States, some 35 million are said to have Irish ancestry. Food and beverages are an important part of St. Patrick's Day celebrating, and we're talking more than green beer. Here are recipes for some real Irish foods to help you enjoy the day authentically.

Noreen Kinney's Irish Soda Bread by Greg Patent

Forget the fluffy white stuff that passes for Irish soda bread here in the States; that's not the real deal. This is. Traditional Irish soda bread is brown, has varied mixtures of flours, and features a coarse texture and no raisins. This authentic loaf has a firm crust and a moist and dense interior. And with flaxseed, sunflower seeds and wheat germs, it's a whole grain nutritional powerhouse, a lucky bonus for St. Patrick's Day.

Corned Beef and Cabbage by Arthur Schwartz

This food tradition really started with Irish bacon, which is what Ireland natives ate on this holiday. It is thought that in the 18th century, Irish-American immigrants who couldn't afford the price of bacon started buying the meat of their German and/or Jewish neighbors, and translated it into a dish to help celebrate their St. Patrick's Day.

The Best Shepherd's Pie by Coleman Andrews

Shepherd's pie was originally known as cottage pie, and came into being as a way to use up leftover roast lamb. It is believed that this popular meat-and-potatoes dish originated in the late 1700s.

Celtic Lamb and Barley Soup by Antony Worrall Thompson

Various soups and stews are served on St. Patrick's Day, such as potato soup, pea soup, lamb stew and this comforting hearty potage, filled with chewy barley and flavorful lamb.

Flaky Scones by Rose Levy Beranbaum

Scones are popular in England, Scotland and other countries, but the Irish are also famous for these pastries, which can be sweet or savory and are wonderful for a snack, breakfast or tea.

Irish Coffee by Christopher Idone

The origins of Irish coffee may, in fact, not be Irish, but it carries the name because of the Irish whiskey in the brew. It is a very warming, decadent and civilized way to end a meal.

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