Wishing You Health, Happiness and Healing on this St. Patrick’s Day

Bartender at the Brazen Head in Dublin

I was tempted to write another lengthy treatise on the Republican’s rather uninspired approach to healthcare. But in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I’ve decided to suspend with the usual political pontificating, and instead offer the possibility for some real healing. Because, quite frankly, I’d rather have my health than healthcare. And there are certainly no forces in the universe more healing than good music and good cookies. And for this St. Patrick’s Day celebration we are able to provide you with both by way of the generous nature of the kind souls in the Celtic band Runa.

During a recent visit to the Bleecker Street Cafe, broadcast live every Friday noon to three over the airwaves and internet at WDVR-FM, we were not only treated to some absolutely magnificent Irish music, but Shannon Lambert-Ryan, the band’s lead vocal, also brought along some of her shortbread cookies–baked to her exacting specifications. And for the very first time on this side of the pond, we are pleased to make that recipe available to a hungry public. And while you’re waiting on the shortbread, we suggest a wee dram, a tall pint, and a long listen to the music of Runa!

              Shannon Lambert-RyanCheryl Prashker

Click on the titles listed below to listen:

Shannon’s Shortbread Recipe

Shannon's Shortbread1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1/3 cup powdered sugar (unsifted)
1/4 tsp. vanilla (optional – but it’s really good!)
1 cup flour (unsifted)

Cream the butter until it’s light. Cream in the powdered sugar, then the vanilla. Now work in the flour. Knead the dough on a flourless board until nice and smooth. For a pan, you can use a clay cookie press or metal cake pan.  Spray the pan very lightly with a non-stick vegetable cooking oil spray. Firmly press dough into the shortbread pan. Prick the entire surface with a fork, and bake the shortbread right in the pan at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30-35 minutes, or until lightly browned. After you take the pan out of the oven, let the shortbread cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before you loosen the edges with a knife. Flip the pan over with a wooden board (sometimes it helps to tap the bottom of the pan to help – do not shake the pan or the shortbread will break). Cut the shortbread into serving pieces while it is still warm.

Sláinte from American Public House Review

Posted by: Chris Poh

Chris Poh

 

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Stand Your Round and Sing those Songs

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“Let it flow outta ya as it’s been flowin’ inta ya for the last couple a hours!”    (The late Tommy Makem’s signature appeal for audience sing-along participation)

I was in conversation a few days ago with a Joe Jencks, a very passionate and talented singer/songwriter who can also tout his fair share of Erin’s heritage. He spoke of a recent house party at which the host made multiple requests that he sing some of the old Irish drinking songs. Rather than regale his parlor audience with those raucous strains, he chose instead to give his host a history lesson.


By his account, those particular songs only speak to the diabolical behavior of the British during the Great Famine of the 19th century in which the English government kept a starving population from engaging in a violent civil uprising by keeping them pleasantly plied on whiskey and beer. While there is probably some degree of truth in that particular point of view, there are many political, social and economic factors that fueled this terrible human tragedy. During the famine years, Ireland was in fact a net exporter of food to England. And during the first nine months of what was to become known as “Black 47” the actual export of grain distilled spirits from Ireland was 1,336,220 gallons.

This great starvation was not a matter of there not being enough food, but instead it was a matter of there not being enough human compassion coupled to an over abundance of prejudice and greed.

So it would still be my inclination  to stand my round and to sing those merry songs that may have been rooted in a very sad bit of Irish history.


We wish all of our friends and readers a very joyous St. Patrick’s Day!


And to help you along with the festivities of the day we invite to listen to and download some of our favorite Celtic artists from our podcasts at Sit Downs and Sessions.


Green Tag

This Stuff Really is Self-evident

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When you get right down to it,  like many of mankind’s  defining  (yet seldom read)  documents,  our Declaration of Independence is that perfect fusion of optimism and enlightened thought attached to our need to complain about those who hold the power. So it is no wonder that an extremely vocal segment of  society will pervert the words of  Jefferson, Franklin and Adams in order to justify their own delusional rants against some imagined ongoing tyranny. But the true measure of  American virtue will not be decided by that handful of angry voices. The realization of our founder’s aspirations lies  with those who in their own pursuits of life, liberty and happiness do nothing to limit the potential and freedom of their fellowman.  Two such fine people, Adam Price and Susan Kimani, recently paid me a visit at the Indian Rock Inn.

For me this delightful young couple represent everything that is right with America. Susan is an artist and fashion designer who found her way to New York City by way of  Kenya, East Africa. Adam’s origins are somewhat less exotic. This extremely accomplished jazz musician, and may I add fellow bartender, is from Boyertown, PA. During our brief time together, we conversed about history, travel, music and beer. And since  all of us were devotees of the American cause, we reveled in our memories of consuming the Ales of the Revolution at Philadelphia’s renowned City Tavern.

RUNA_Promo_Photo_2014So to Susan and Adam, and all the followers of American Public House Review  we wish everyone a very joyous 4th of July! And to further aid in that celebration, we’ve included an absolutely wonderful version of our nation’s anthem. Click here to listen to the work of Francis  Scott key as performed by the Celtic group–Runa.

Posted by: Chris Poh

 

What We Really Need is a Good Tune and a Good Drink

Jukebox at J.J. Bitting Brewing Co.

       The jukebox at the J.J. Bitting Brewing Company

As the Northeast prepares for yet another day of record-breaking heat, I realize that I don’t need to be adding to the abundance of hot air circulating over the continental United States. So rather than embarking on another round of some maudlin discourse or political pontificating, I thought it might be nice to provide some relief to the sultry weather with some tunes and a tonic.  

Some featured favorites from the our jukebox:

Runa Courted a Sailor

Garnet RogersBetter Days

David John and the Comstock CowboysShenandoah

Jackie TiceYou Love the Rain

 Jack TannehillBabe

 

Gerry TimlinWill You Go Lassie Go

  

Now as to that tonic, might I recommend a Singapore Sling mixed with Bluecoat American Dry Gin from our friends at Philadelphia Distilling.

Posted by: Chris Poh

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!

In Ireland, Saint Patrick’s Day is considered a holy day.  The celebration marking the death of their country’s patron saint, the man credited with bringing Catholicism to Ireland, is a family and church day.  But here in America, where the world’s first Saint Patrick’s Day Parade was held in 1762 by Irish soldiers serving in the English army, it is one big party.

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In the United States, the Irish pub has come to be ground zero for St. Patty’s Day celebrations.  Those marching in the many grand parades like the one in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, or just attending them, often start and end their day at the pub.  For those of Irish heritage, and those who wish they were, the Irish pub remains a special place all year long.  But on the 17th of March, people are willing to wait in long lines for hours just to belly up to one of these great bars.

And we here at the American Public House Review are no exception.  We seem to find ourselves spending time in many of America’s great Irish taverns.  So if you are sitting home today, or at the office, and you are curious about the influence Erin’s Isle has had on our country, you needn’t look any further than the archives of APHR for some great examples.

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Of course few are more famous the Manhattan’s McSorley’s Ale House on the lower eastside, or P.J. Clarke’s found uptown.  Molly’s Shebeen, also downtown, ranks right there with those two in the annals of great turn of the century Irish taverns.  They are testaments to the lasting power of a great Irish pub. 

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But a great tavern doesn’t need to be old to be great.  The Dubliner in Washington D.C. and the Dublin Pub in Morristown both opened in the early 1970’s, but feel as though they were transported here from Ireland’s largest city centuries ago.  For great music, try Mitchell’s Café along the Delaware River in New Jersey.  Or maybe you will be lucky enough to hear Gerry Timlin play at the Shanacie Pub in Ambler, Pa, where he is at once the entertainer, resident storyteller, and owner.

Needless to say, I love a good Irish pub.  I can literally say I was raised in them.  They are what brought me to my love of great taverns.  Yes, today may be the toughest day to get into one, and rightly so, but it is worth it.  I’ll be leaving for mine in just a couple of hours.

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So from all of us here at the American Public House Review, to our readers of Irish and wishful-Irish heritage, we raise a glass and say “Thirst is a shameless disease, so here’s to a shameful cure”, and Happy Saint Patrick’s Day.

Posted by: David McBride

More Men In Kilts

Men in Kilts at Porters Pub in Easton, PA

Men in Kilts at Porters Pub in Easton, PA

There are so many wonderful customs attached to the Celtic season, that period before Saint Patrick’s Day in which we actually choose to honor and celebrate March 17th,  (a  number normally somewhere between 30 and 363 days, not including March 18th, as it is recognized as the national day of recovery for the hardiest of celebrants). But of all that is sacred to the Celtic tradition, there is nothing more beautiful than the wearing of the kilt.

The history of the garment dates back to at least 16th century Scotland. The original tartan weaves and colors signified regional associations. The practice of identifying individual clans by way of a registered design only began in the 19th century. Also during that period the donning of the kilt was taken up by the rest of the Celtic enclave. The Cornish, Irish, Welsh and Manx put on the plaid.

The kilt allows one to get in touch with the more sensitive aspects of manhood, while still being able to maintain our barbaric tendencies. As a species we are always caught between the skirt and the Sgian Dubh (pronounced Skean Du). Literally translated, it refers to the Black Knife tucked into the sock of a kilt wearer.

Matt DeBlass - Musician, Writer, Sensitive Soul, Celtic Warrior

Matt DeBlass - Musician, Writer, Sensitive Soul, Celtic Warrior

When he is not performing at a local Ceili, musician and contributing editor to American Public House Review, Matt Deblass loves to sport his kilt at Porter’s Pub in Easton, Pennsylvania. You can enjoy him and other Celtic artists by clicking onto the jukebox section of our magazine.

Here is one of my favorites by the lad. “Bartender I’ll Have  What the Man on the Floor Has Been Drinkin

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Posted by: Chris Poh

An Off Kilter take on Celtic

I can’t think of any place on earth with more things for you to do on your vacation than Walt Disney World.  You can spend a week getting to one of the four theme parks when the gates open and keep moving until closing and still not see everything there is to see.  Unfortunately, when most people think of Disney World they think the whole experience consists of oversized mice and robotic pirates.  But beneath the pixie dust there is a huge collection of delicious restaurants, more than a few terrific bars, and a collection of great live music.

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When you make it to Epcot, check your timesheet and see when Off Kilter is next scheduled to play.  Then have a seat on a bench in front of the stage you’ll find next to the Canada pavilion.  Oh, but before you do that, just take a short stroll to the Rose and Crown Pub in the neighboring United Kingdom pavilion for a pint.  Then you and your beer can sit and enjoy a performance from one of the best Celtic-Rock bands you will ever hear.

This week on the American Public House Review Jukebox, we have a little sampler of what Off Kilter can do.  The Green Fields of France is a gorgeous song, and the boys do an incredible job with it.  But check out their website for more great stuff.  They bring Celtic to a new rocked-out level of fun.  But honestly, you must seem them live.  After seeing them once, you’ll find yourself going back again and again.  Who needs mice when you got great beer and rollicking music?

by Dave McBride

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