The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 03.15.05


Erin Go Bragh and please pass the cookies

May you live to be a hundred years, with one extra year to repent!: Irish blessing- anonymous

The world will go green on 03.17 and the Irish Flag will be waved with pride. Traditionally the color green is always associated with St. Patrick's Day and there is little mention or display of the orange color that is prominent on the Irish Flag itself. Why is that and could a reader enlighten me?

I do know that the celebrated Saint Patrick promoted "The wearing of the green" as it symbolizes the birth of springtime. Irish legend also states that green clothes attract faeries and aid crops. I'm all for helping crops grow but attracting fairies? I think I'll let you decide what to wear.

I'm not one for green beer. It brings back memories of youthful over-indulgence and I'll leave that libation for the truly Irish. I can wear a kilt but one of Scottish heritage. Clan networks tie the brethren and "tatties" or the lack thereof helped found the New World. There will be a proliferation of Irish potato recipes in every media all week but I thought I'd provide a recipe for an item that provides an opportunity for families to educate their kids with while satisfying the sweet tooth.

Baking flag cookies is a great way to learn about other cultures and countries and this Irish version teaches us that that there are more colors than green in Ireland. I suspect some political or religious reasoning behind the orange omission in annual Irish celebrations but perhaps I am just full of blarney.

Kiss me with your thoughts at Greg Duncan.

Irish Flag Cookies
Crisp sugar cookies frosted to look like the flag of the Irish Republic. Makes 3 dozen cookies

1-cup butter
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 egg
1-teaspoon vanillas extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-teaspoon baking soda
1-teaspoon cream of tartar


In a large bowl, cream together butter and confectioners' sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Mix well.

In a medium sized bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Blend into the butter mixture. Divide dough into thirds and shape into balls.

Working with 1/3 of the dough (each 1/3 makes a dozen cookies) at a time, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick on a floured surface. With a knife, cut dough into rectangles about 2 inches high by 3 inches long. When all three portions have been rolled out and cut, place rectangles on un-greased cookie sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven until lightly browned. Cool completely on wire rack. Frost cookies with:

Irish Flag Frosting 1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
1/4-teaspoon salt
1/2-teaspoon vanilla extract
1-tablespoon water
2 drops orange food coloring
2 drops green food coloring


Blend confectioners' sugar, salt and vanilla. Add just enough water to make frosting easy to spread.

Divide frosting into 2 small bowls. Add 2 drops of orange food coloring to one bowl and 2 drops of green food coloring to the other bowl. Mix each until the colors are even. Frost 1 inch of the left side of each Irish Flag Cookie with the green frosting and 1 inch of the right side of the cookies with the orange frosting, leaving the middle inch unfrosted.