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St. Patrick's Day Through the Lens of Food

St. Patrick's Day Through the Lens of Food

Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Circa 1872

Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Circa 1872

For a look at St. Patrick's Day, we turn to the Dublin native and writer Jonathan Swift (1667-1745). He most well known for his book Gulliver’s Travels published in 1726. Perhaps many cooks and those interested in food studies would fine his poem Onion based on the calls of venders selling them on the streets of interest:


Come, follow me by the smell,

Here are delicate onions to sell;

I promise to use you well.

They make the blood warmer,

You’ll feed like a farmer;

For this is every cook’s opinion,

No savoury dish without an onion;

But, lest your kissing should be spoiled,

Your onions must be thoroughly boiled:

Or else you may spare

Your mistress a share,

The secret will never be known:

She cannot discover

The breath of her lover,

But think it as sweet as her own.

Sweet Onion Cornbread Recipe


2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup chopped Vidalia onions

1 cup flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 cup milk

1 egg 


Grease muffin tins (or a large cast iron skillet) with a butter substitute or use cooking spray. Sauté onions until golden brown, approximately 5 minutes. In a large bowl, add the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and pepper. In a smaller bowl, briskly mix the milk, egg white and cooked onions together. Combine the dry ingredients, mixing just until blended. Spread batter in the skillet and or pan. Bake until the cornbread's sides begin to pull away from the pan, approximately 20 minutes. Let cook and then remove from the pan, serves 6.

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