Sunday, March 17, 2013

Kimberly Kincaid: The Luck of the Irish: Celebrating Holidays With Food

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Once we get past thoughts of leprechauns and four-leaf clovers, the first thing that pops to mind for many of us on St. Patrick’s Day is the food. Traditional Irish fare like corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread, and bangers and mash abound on this holiday, and many of the recipes have been handed down and perfected over generations. Whether or not you’re Irish (and isn’t everyone today?), chances are you may indulge in a dish or two or three to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (and yes…Irish coffee counts)

But the Irish aren’t the only folks who celebrate holidays (and life) with food. Nearly every culture has traditional fare, and the best part is, because we’re a melting pot, much of it has become mainstream. Check out the main thoroughfare in any town as proof—more likely than not, you’ll find sushi restaurants cuddled up with Italian brick oven pizzerias, cozy French bakeries right next to places specializing in Thai food. So what is it about food that makes us pass it on from generation to generation, keeping culinary traditions in place?

For one thing, food nourishes us, both literally and figuratively. We share it together as families. We offer it in times of joy, as well as times of grief. Food has the power to sustain us. And while cultures may differ on what they serve and how they serve it, this remains universal. Picture Sunday dinner in your head (from any time in your life). What do you see? Likely, there are family traditions there that revolve around food. Perhaps there’s a pot roast in the oven, or maybe a lasagna on the table. Take a moment to remember the smells, the sounds, the tastes. Makes for a pretty evocative picture, right?

Because food has this sustaining power, we often use it to celebrate holidays, like St. Patrick’s Day. Pick a holiday and do a free association. Chances are, a food item is among the first things you think of, regardless of your cultural background. And the beauty is that while some things are quite universal (Thanksgiving turkey, for example), nothing is set in stone. Traditional Italian Thanksgiving meals have nary a turkey in sight (and trust me, while I like turkey as much as anyone else, you don’t miss it at a meal like that!)
So take a moment to think about your favorite holiday(s). What dishes do you share with those around you? Are they traditional? Passed down through your culture or family? Or do you like to try new dishes each year? Share your food customs, your recipes, your ideas! I’ll be right over here with my bangers and mash, sipping a pint of Guinness J After all, everyone’s Irish today!
Love On The Line -
Violet Morgan puts the personal in personal chef, catering to clients who want the full cooking experience rather than a culinary drop-and-dash. But when her brother’s police detective partner is injured in the line of duty and needs help during recovery, she makes an exception. Violet lost her father to the job seven years ago, and worries for her brother’s safety every day. The last thing she wants is to get up-close with her brother’s career-cop partner…again.
For Noah Blackwell, being a detective isn’t just a lifestyle, it’s a legacy. So when he’s forced to take mandatory leave and deal with the trauma amnesia keeping him from identifying his shooter, it’s a literal case of adding insult to injury— and now he’s got to deal with an unwanted culinary caregiver on top of it. Never mind that he and Violet shared a steamy, secret kiss last New Year’s Eve. She rejects everything related to the job, and Noah’s not about to be distracted from recovering his memory and getting back to what he does best. No matter how pretty Violet is.
Despite their differences, Violet and Noah share a surprising bond in the kitchen that grows into something neither of them expect. But as Noah heals and their feelings for each other extend from the kitchen to the bedroom, Violet knows she must make an impossible choice. She may wear her heart on her sleeve when it comes to food, but can she risk it all to put love on the line?

Kimberly Kincaid writes contemporary romance that splits the difference between sexy and sweet. When she's not sitting cross-legged in an ancient desk chair known as "The Pleather Bomber", she can be found practicing obscene amounts of yoga, whipping up anything from enchiladas to éclairs in her kitchen, or curled up with her nose in a book. Kimberly is a 2011 RWA Golden Heart® finalist who lives (and writes!) by the mantra that food is love. She is thrilled to have collaborated on a Christmas anthology with Donna Kauffman and Kate Angell, titled The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap, to kick off her Pine Mountain foodie series with Kensington this October. Her first full-length novel, Turn Up the Heat, will follow in February 2014. Kimberly resides in northern Virginia with her wildly patient husband and their three daughters. Visit her any time at or come check her out on Facebook and Twitter.


Kathleen O said...

I am not a good cook, but there are a few dishes I can do, and one of them is nice Ham.. and I have a recipe for one done in the slow cooker that I am going to try at Easter...We always bake our ham in the oven, but this one sounds lovely...

Kimberly Kincaid said...

We do ham on Easter too. My favorite is brown-sugar glazed, but smoked is really good too. It always makes me think of spring!

Jenna Rutland said...

Ham for Easter here, too. I've got a delicious glazed ham recipe that calls for peach marmelade and peach Schnapps. Makes a slightly sweet, very tender ham.

Mary Kirkland said...

We really don't do much for St. Patrick's day, but for Thanksgiving and Christmas I cook a big meal. Turkey and all the fixings on Thanksgiving and Ham and all the fixings on Christmas. Those are really the only two holidays I celebrate other than Halloween and that's an all month long celebration..with decorations, candy and horror movies.

Pat Cochran said...

Easter: Ham, Deviled Eggs,
July Fourth: Fried chicken, Hamburgers,
My Mother's Potato Salad,
Thanksgiving: Turkey and Dressing, Cran-
berry Sauce.
Christmas: Ham, Pork Tamales/Christmas
New Years Day: Ham, Brisket, Cabbage,
Black Eye Peas, Cornbread.

Kimberly, I am so hungry now!!!!

Pat C.

Mary Preston said...

I do love bangers & mash.

We tend to have a lot of BBQ's when the family get together. There are rather a lot of us, so it's the easiest way to feed the gang, as my Mother calls the collective group.

Kimberly Kincaid said...

I am so hungry reading all of these posts! I love how each of us has something a little unique, but then there are those staples that hold us all together too. We tend to BBQ a lot as a family as well, which makes me doubly grateful that spring is (allegedly) around the corner.

Thanks for stopping by, everyone!