Ask people what St. Patrick's Day means to them in this era and you're bound to get a response that involves some sort of alcohol. But that's just a tiny fraction of how people celebrate on March 17th. There's also the charm, lore, and certainly the food behind the widely celebrated Irish holiday -- after all, there's more to St. Paddy's Day than drinking, green beer, and close calls with alcohol poisoning. Legend has it that Patrick was the saint responsible for building monasteries and schools in Ireland after being blessed by the Pope. Rumour also has it that he was the one responsible for driving out the hoards of poisonous snakes that plagued the emerald isle thousands of years ago.
St. Patrick died on March the 17th, AD 461. The Irish, grateful that their land was now snake-free and appreciating his years of religious work, decided that every March 17th would be used to commemorate his death with plenty of energy and food. Some common ingredients used back then were pork, root vegetables and seafood and represented what little the Irish had to make do with during times of hardship. Today, you can still find those ingredients today, but used in more gourmet dishes such as the fish cakes, stews and pot roasts below: