first year - Feb. 13, 2014 - Feb. 13, 2015
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Monologue Mania Day # 398 by Janet S. Tiger Leprechaun Stew March 17, 2015
(for the Senior Channel)
by Janet S. Tiger (c) 2015 all rights
(Woman enters, carrying a mixing bowl and bag of food. She has to be dressed with some green. It is a St. Patrick's Day monologue after all!)
I want to thank the Senior Channel for inviting me here on this special day.
(She takes the bowl out and starts the preparations, which will continue throughout)
We were small the first time my mother made us Leprechaun Stew.
It was, of course, for St. Patrick's Day. And my mother was very ingenious about the whole thing.
(Irish accent) Oh, I have a fine treat for you, my dears! Wait'll you taste this!
(Back to herself) My mother had a thick accent, even though her family had come to the United States when she was ten, I think she cultivated it, and the thickness grew as she aged, until you'd a thought she had just stepped off the boat.
I first met my mother when she was 28 years old, that's when I was born you see, and she already had four children before me. One, Patrick, had died at birth. The rest of us were fine. But my mother looked like a mother. It was only when I had my own children and looked back that I realized how young she was then. But when I was four, and she was 32, she was a mother, old and wise. And about to make Leprechaun Stew!
Times were not so easy that year. My father was in the Navy, and only came home once in awhile to father that year's newest Fitzgerald. The money he sent never lasted the whole month, so the final days required extra care on my mother's part. And God forbid if there was an extra expense, like Kevin's broken arm or a pair of lost shoes, the difficult end of the month would start in the middle.
That February had been cold, needing more heating oil, so March dawned warmer, but with less green for those of us wearing the green. But what was going to happen for St. Patrick's Day? Everyone had to have fun that day!
So, that year, on March 16th, my mother was desperate, and she went to Greenberg's grocery right before they closed, and she offered her services to him........
(She looks around, seemingly shocked)
Not those kinds of services! She offered to weed out all the bad food and vegetables for him, so the rotten ones would not spoil the rest overnight. Mrs. Greenberg used to do this, but she had gotten very sick, which my mother knew because she and Mr. Greenberg had bonded over produce, both being aficionados of what was good and bad.
Of course, my mother had an ulterior motive - she got to throw out the bad produce....to save Mr. Greenberg the trouble..... of course.
So we got the discards. Which we watched my mother prune and chop and grind and make into a new dish that she told us was extra special for St. Paddy's day - Leprechaun Stew.
She told us there were many secrets to this dish, including having to start it cooking at exactly nine o'clock, and the leprechaun had to be fresh caught, and put in at precisely midnight.
'A real leprechaun?' We were impressed. How could our ancient mother capture such a creature, let alone kill and cook it? And would we want to eat it?
(Irish, as mother) Oh, when you capture the leprechaun, you don't have to kill it.....in exchange for his life, he'll give me something special to put into the stew, you'll see!
And so our leprechaun stew was born. We all tried to stay up to wait for mom's return, talk to the leprechaun and maybe trick him out of the pot of gold. But midnight was a lifetime away, and we all slept through the event.
The next day, a delicious aroma filled the air - the leprechaun stew was ready! There was something meaty in the stew, what kind of meat we could not determine, but the flavor was incredible. What had the leprechaun traded for his life, we begged.
(As mother) I can never tell - it's a secret, and if I was so foolish as to tell, I could never have the leprechaun's help again, so it is not worth it, it is!
(Back to herself) And so the secret ingredient remained so.....guarded by my mother's honor for many years. The leprechaun stew reappeared whenever times were really tough, always delicious, always there in the nick of time.
As I got older, I noticed a bag that was in the stew, and I asked my mother. She would grab this bag and hide it, but we all knew that the secret was in the bag.
Funny how years pass, and we barely notice until something happens that stands out. My father's death, even though halfway round the world, is one of those events. While he sent money every month, he had kept a portion for his drinking, and so it turned out that the widow's military stipend was - although less than his salary had been - actually more than my mother got from him every month.
His death meant we did better. Strange. And another twist of fate took Mr. Goldberg's wife that same year. I was twelve and my mother was, oh, so, old at 36! With seven children, it was not easy. And yet, due to their common love for fruits and vegetables, my mother and Mr. Goldberg started what was known in those days as.....a friendship.
Our lot improved greatly. Mr. Goldberg sold his grocery, and we all moved to Los Angeles with him, where we started new, including a new restaurant, with New York deli that all the transplanted Easterners just loved.
The first St. Patrick's Day out here was strange, and we asked my mother to make Leprechaun stew. she didn't want to - she said there was no need, we had plenty of corned beef, all we could eat, and cabbage and (mother's accent) Why in God's name do we need to eat some stew? We can go out to eat! Have a treat!
(Back to herself) So we went to a place that wouldn't charge us - my stepfather's restaurant. Goldberg's New York Delights.....with the D-E-L-I in delights flashing neon that could be seen all over the Valley.
(Shakes her head remembering)
That was soooo interesting when I started dating.....
Anyhow, so we come in, and on the board telling the day's specials, is a big sign......
'For St. Patrick's Day - Goldberg's New York Delights is proud to offer....COLLEEN'S AUTHENTIC LEPRECHAUN STEW.
My mother started crying, and that was a meal I will never forget. You see, I was old enough to know, for certain, there were no leprechauns anywhere near the stew, but I was curious, so, I snuck into the kitchen......
(She looks around, will anyone catch her, she opens up the lid of a pot, is surprised)
Pops.....that's we called Mr. Goldberg.......Pops caught me and laughed.
(She lifts something from the pot)
He pulled a bag out of the pot.........the secret.......pickling spices! And the meat from the original stew was all the trimmings from that very day my mother went back......Mr. Goldberg knew times were tough and my mother was proud, so he had given her pickling spices and the trimmed meat for that day.....and a job at his grocery.
And that is what has led me, Colleen Fitzgerald to become the head chef of Goldberg's New York Deli......as soon as I could, we dropped the 'ghts'
So I hope that, along with all our patrons, you folks on the Senior Channel can enjoy some Leprechaun Stew today - and any day you want to have a taste of something delicious.
The full recipe is online and right here onscreen -
(She points up)
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
(She turns to leave, stops, looks back)
And don't worry, no leprechauns were harmed in the making of this stew!
(She exits to have a great St. Paddy's Day. Hope everyone reading does, too!)
Janet S. Tiger 858-736-6315
Member Dramatists Guild since 1983
Swedenborg Hall 2006-8