Corned Beef and Cabbage: Not An Irish Dish?

Corned Beef and Cabbage: Not An Irish Dish?

 

Did you know that corned beef and cabbage aren’t traditional Irish dishes? Then why do so many Irish people (or those who want to celebrate the heritage) cook and enjoy the meal on St. Patrick’s Day?

The traditional dish was drummed up right here in the United States, and what’s funny is that very few people in Ireland have ever eaten the tasty meal.

“When Irish immigrants came to America before the turn of the century, they didn’t know corned beef from a hole in the wall,” Dr. Hasia Diner said during an interview with Real Simple magazine. The diner is the author of Hungering for America: Italian, Irish and Jewish Foodways in the Age of Migration.

So how did it get to be known as an Irish dish? It is presumed that Irish immigrants first enjoyed eating corned beef in the numerous Jewish delis of New York’s Lower East Side. Cabbage was (and still is) an inexpensive vegetable. The Irish did know this one full well from their homeland, so the two foods came together and made what is now traditionally considered Irish fare. It’s amazing how much-corned beef, along with cabbage is served in restaurants on St. Patrick’s Day and also how quickly corned beef sells out in delis and grocery stores in the days before the holiday.

Typically served with carrots, potatoes, and sometimes even some boiled onions, the meal is certainly an easy one to cook all year round, but for some reason, people wait until mid-March to prepare it, and some folks only eat it once a year.

Do you cook this not-so-traditional Irish fare for your family on St. Patrick’s Day? Do you plan to make sure you get your corned beef before the deli or the store where you shop runs out?

 

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