March was always an exciting time in our family when I was a kid. Major League Baseball spring training gave us another year of short-lived hope that the Cubs could make it to October. My sister and I tried to one-up each other with our choices of Lenten sacrifices. Dad’s birthday meant we could con Grandma and Grandpa into getting him something we wanted, but he didn’t need or desire, like a cordless phone and an answering machine. But the biggest event of the month was always St. Patrick’s Day dinner.
Grandma worked all day preparing corned beef and cabbage. Large pots boiling and steaming adorned her stove, and we were ordered to stay out. That wasn’t a problem since my sister and I hated the smell of cooked cabbage.
When dinner was ready, we all gathered around the kitchen table and dug in. Well, they dug in. My sister and I just ate the potatoes and picked at the corned beef. The cabbage never touched our plate. But that was okay because to my grandparents, this meal wasn’t purely about nutrition. It was a time to discuss our heritage and stories from long ago.
Every meal in my grandparents’ house placed importance not only on the food we ate, but the conversation we shared. The food on our plates nourished our bodies, but talking about our day, discussing politics, remembering old stories, and just sharing time together is what nourished our souls.
This will be the first St. Patrick’s Day without my grandmother, and I will miss her terribly. I guess that just means I’ll have to try my hand at corned beef and cabbage, and my kids will be the ones complaining about the smell!
Since March is National Nutrition Month, check out these nutrition facts on a traditional St. Patrick’s Day dinner:
Corned Beef: 213 calories (3 oz serving), 16g fat (so stick with 3 oz and enjoy each bite!), 15 g protein, Vitamins B-12, B-6, Iron, and Magnesium are abundant in corned beef.
Cabbage: 17 calories per ½ cup, 0 fat. Cabbage’s biggest claim to dietary fame is that a serving is nearly ½ of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C. Oh, and did you see that itty-bitty calorie and fat count? Eat up!
Potatoes: 163 calories per 1 medium potato, 0g fat, 37g carbohydrates. Potatoes may not be nature’s perfect food, but if you eat the skin, you’ll get more of the protein, calcium, as well as iron, potassium, zinc and Vitamin C.
You can read Food Glorious Food, another blog post I wrote about family dinner, nutrition and seniors, and don’t forget to learn more about the importance of senior nutrition and become aware of the signs that your loved one may need help at http://www.CravingCompanionship.com.
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