Photo courtesy of Teri Lee Gruss

Photo courtesy of Teri Lee Gruss

When I was growing up in a small town in the panhandle of Florida, the arrival of St. Patrick’s Day meant I had to wear green to school (or risk being pinched) and that we decorated home room doors with shiny cardboard shamrocks. That was about the extent of it. It was not until I moved to Atlanta that I found out St. Patrick’s day was a big holiday for many and that some places even had parades to celebrate it. Who knew that the first St. Patrick’s Day parade was in American and not Ireland? History.com is full of interesting details about this holiday.

The very first year I lived in Georgia, we went to Savannah for the holiday. The sleepy Southern town made famous by the book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” is arguably the location of the biggest St. Patty’s Day celebration in the Southeast. When the locals say they’re going to paint the town green, they are not kidding. Not only was the beer green, the river was green. They dumped coloring into it to make it so. The river there is kind of gray otherwise – not blue, green or even blue-green. At least it was the times I’ve been down there. Obviously, since my St. Patrick’s Day visit to Savannah was almost 30 years ago, I was not on the gluten-free diet. It would be interesting to know if they now have any gluten free beer available so that gluten-free folks can enjoy the celebration with the rest of the crowd.

During our last visit there, we discovered a lovely café (Gallery Espresso) that serves up fresh gluten-free pound cake and cheesecake daily. I didn’t find Savannah itself  to be particularly gluten-free friendly in terms of gluten-free dining options, but I have been to Paula Deen’s restaurant, after all. Paula Deen was only famous in Savannah back then. Often times I’ve thought how it might be a great thing for our community if someone like Paula Deen had to start eating gluten-free. Don’t misunderstand me – I would not wish celiac on anyone but 1 in 100 Americans have it. IF someone like Paula Deen had it, it could benefit our community in a big way. You know that woman isn’t going without her fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits or macaroni and cheese. Paula would surely come up with some of the most amazing gluten-free dishes on the planet – or at least in the South where what flour still reigns supreme in so many restaurant kitchens – including hers.

For those of you looking for some tasty gluten-free St. Patty’s Day recipes, here are some that you might find interesting. I’ve not made any of them but might have to make some Irish soda bread one of these days.

It you want to enjoy an Irish coffee on St. Patty’s Day, make it with pure distilled Irish whisky. If the whisky is distilled and there are no flavors added to it, it is considered gluten-free. *

Let us know if you have a favorite gluten-free recipe to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

*References : Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide.