Thursday, March 30, 2017

How to Host a Homeland Heritage Dinner

Every year, I have a St Patricks Dinner for my family. I usually make rainbow food, or green food. This year, the holiday took on a little more meaning to me. I was searching my family tree on, and found that I had an ancestor from Ireland! A grandmother, whose name is Mary Ann Moore. Her whole line is Irish! I always wanted a, "Kiss me, I'm Irish," shirt! Next year, I can buy one and wear it for real.


I started wondering what it was like to live in Ireland when she was there. I also wondered what brought her to the US.  I really wish I had a way to interview these grandparents in person. I have so many questions!  This is a screen shot. I love having ancestral info right on my phone! The Family Search app makes it so easy!

Since I was making a St. Patricks Day dinner for my family anyway, I decided I would turn it into an Irish dinner. I wondered what kind of food she would have eaten, and what recipes came with her from Ireland to Utah. She was seven when she sailed from Ireland to Philadelphia, PA in 1819. She sailed with her father and younger sister. What happened to her mother? Did she die giving birth to her younger sister? So many questions! I had no idea before that week, that I had Irish heritage. So, I started from zero. I researched what kind of meal to make for my family, that would be more traditional Irish. Pinterest was a fantastic resource, my only resource, really. This is my St Patrick's Board. You can have a look around. I have all the recipes from this post, as well as lots of other fun ideas.

I wanted to make Irish Soda Bread. It was SO easy. While we were eating, my husband pointed out that this grandmother likely would have made and eaten this type of bread. It's made with baking soda instead of yeast. It's almost like making biscuits. It is dense and delicious!

I made baked reuben for my family all the time. I was in the store, and saw these rye buns, and thought I would make the rueben using them instead. I just cut the whole sheet of ready made rolls in half, and added the salad dressing, corned beef, swiss cheese, and sour kraut inside, and baked it until warm. I thought it was extra pretty!

These next pics are from my insta stories. Do you follow me on Instagram? I'm @restlessrisa_risabaker

These potato pancakes were the hit of the night! They were the most time consuming, (you have to make your mashed potatoes in advance, and put in the fridge for a few hours before) but SOOO yummy and delicious! It doesn't hurt that they are fried in oil! We had left overs for a few days. Everyone loved them!

This Irish cabbage was surprisingly easy to make and good! I accidentally got a small head of cabbage. I should have gotten large because it cooked down so small. I also used turkey bacon, so it didn't have the grease of regular bacon, but it was still really good, and everyone had seconds!

Setting the table is a favorite part for me! I made a place card for each person. This is one of my favorite things to do! I love to make my family members feel like they are part of the group! I got the tiny easels from Michael's dollar bins. I plan to use them over and over! They were the perfect place to put a place card! They are chalkboard, and I could have easily handwritten each person's name, but I want to do something a little more fancy! You can learn to make your own with this tutorial.

I collect colored glass, and have so many colors. I was happy to use the green for this. I own the gold chargers, but the center plate is a paper, salad sized plate. The polkadot motif reminds me of gold coins. I love using paper plates for accents whenever I have a fun dinner. Plus paper plates equal less dishes to clean and store!

I set my table in rainbow colors with gold accents. I got pretty fabric from Hobby Lobby to use for a table cloth. It's been on my table as a table cloth ever since St. Patricks Day! I love it!

I made lucky charm treats earlier that day. Not traditional Irish, but a tradition for our family to eat, Lucky Charms, on St. Patricks Day!

Before dinner, I googled, "Life in Ireland in the early 1800's." It pulled up a bunch of information about the political climate, and general life, even some photos of what homes may have looked like. I talked to my kids a little bit about that, and showed them pics from the internet. This is an example of what an Irish home may have looked like around 1800.

 While we were eating dinner, I read my kids the little bit of info I had about this Grandma, Mary Ann Moore. I love having this info right at my finger tips (on my cell phone), and am so thankful for the person that entered it into Family Search!

This cute  grandma was very frugal, and used to sew gold coins into the hems of her skirts and hide them in her mattress. Well, I just happened to have chocolate gold coins on hand! I always give these to my kids on St. Patricks Day! 

We played, "Button button, whose got the button?" with the coins. It was a fun and easy way to incorporate a game, with the item from the story. You could also do something like play hot and cold, with an item that relates to your family history story. It doesn't have to be complicated. 

We had Irish music playing in the background. I just searched it on Apple Music. It added to a great atmosphere. 

Bringing in the family history aspect made it much more meaningful. I'm already looking forward to doing it again next year. 

My daughter told me that she liked this night better than our typical family history stories, because of the food and the game. I'm glad it was meaningful to them. 

The following is a, "recipe," for a, Homeland Heritage Night, in your home. You could use it for anything from a family night, to a family reunion.

Thanks for stopping by.

Have a Happy and Creative Day!