What’s For Dinner?
St. Patrick’s Day is a day that people wear green to represent the lushness of Ireland and it is also when we, here in Idaho, can celebrate by reflecting on similarities that we share with the Emerald Isle. Each year, many Americans associate corned beef and cabbage as traditional Irish fare. Though cabbage has long been an Irish food, corned beef only began to be associated with St. Patrick's Day at the turn of the century, when Irish immigrants living on New York City's Lower East Side saved money by substituting corned beef for their traditional dish of Irish bacon. Long before this, was the stronger association between Ireland and the potato. As early as the 1590’s, it became common for poor Irish families to rent between 1 and 10 acres of land for a season of growing potatoes. This gave families the opportunity to pay their rent, build a cottage and feed themselves in the process. The Irish were one of the first to seriously consider the potato as a staple food and used it as a centerpiece for their winter diet from August to March. With such a long standing history of the cultivation of potatoes, the Irish created many mouthwatering delicacies such as potato soup, potato-apple pudding and Colcannon; a simple and traditional dish of 2 1/2 lbs of floury potatoes with skin on, boiled together with 1 small head of chopped green cabbage or kale, then mashed until fluffy with 1 cup milk, 2 tablespoons chopped green onions, 1/2 stick butter and salt and pepper to taste. In the old days, Irish rural folk often placed a wedding ring in the Colcannon and the first single person to find (hopefully not digest) the ring would marry within the year. Poems and songs were sung in it’s honor such as: Did you ever eat Colcannon, When t'was made with yellow cream, And the kale and the praties blended, Like the picture in a dream? Did you ever take a forkful, And dip it in the lake, Of heather-flavoured butter, That your mother used to make? Idaho and Ireland share the commonality of beautiful landscapes, hardworking people and potatoes that are magically delicious!
Village of Trees RV Resort- Travel Stop 216
274 Highway 25, Declo
Winter Hours: 7 a.m.- 9 p.m./ Summer Hours: 6 a.m.-10 p.m.
Take out: 654-2133
You need not book a trip to Ireland when a mini-getaway can be found at the Village of Trees Travel Stop. At first glance it seems as an unassuming gas station, but step inside and order up a Loaded Idaho Baked Potato with sour cream, mozzarella, cheddar, bacon bits, onions and butter for just $2.49. Enjoy a bowl of homemade chili or soup of the day at $2.99. Big juicy hot dogs, polish sausage, or Bratwurst are available at $1.49, each. The menu doesn’t stop there as they also serve made to order pizzas which range from $4.99 for a small combination to $11.99 for a large combo. While waiting for your order take a look around at the gift shop which features Idaho Potato wrapping paper, soap and even spud salt and pepper shakers! A very delicious and creative dessert on the menu is an Ice Cream Potato, which consists of home-style vanilla ice cream rolled into cocoa powder, nestled on drizzles of chocolate syrup and topped with whipped cream, nuts and Oreo cookie crumbs at $3.29. Don’t miss this dessert! Find your booth inside or when the weather warms up, sit amongst the trees at the picnic tables out back. Enjoy the nature or your lap top as Wi-Fi is available throughout the park. If you are finding it hard to leave, don’t worry, make reservations to stay in a cabin, RV or tent. If staying on the premises you will find more hidden treasures such as a walking trail along the Snake River, a fish pond stocked with rainbow trout, swimming pool, volleyball court and hot tub.
**BEHIND THE SCENE**
The people who work here are really nice. After all my pigging out, I went to the counter to pay and noticed my debit card was missing from my wallet. I don't carry cash, nor checks and keep a credit card in a block of ice at home! I finally realized that my husband used my card the prior day before he went out of town. I called my husband and sure enough he had my card, in Nebraska! The young man who worked there really made me feel like this just happens everyday and even took the info over the phone and was able to process my tab. As you can imagine, I went straight home and grabbed the ice pick!