Skip to comments.Corned Beef and Cabbage: As Irish as Spaghetti and Meatballs
Posted on 03/17/2014 5:58:47 AM PDT by Phillyred
The wearing of the green is nearly upon us, and so the season of green beer, bagels and milkshakes has begun. While theres nothing particularly Irish about shamrock-shaped cookies or green-frosted cupcakes, you might be surprised to learn that the traditional St. Paddys mealcorned beef and cabbageis no more authentic. Like many aspects of St. Patricks Day, the dish came about when Irish-Americans transformed and reinterpreted a tradition imported from the Emerald Isle.
The first St. Patricks Day parade took place not in Dublin but in New York City, in 1762. Over the next 100 years, Irish immigration to the United States exploded. The new wave of immigrants brought their own food traditions, including soda bread and Irish stew. Pork was the preferred meat, since it was cheap in Ireland and ubiquitous on the dinner table. The favored cut was Irish bacon, a lean, smoked pork loin similar to Canadian bacon. But in the United States, pork was prohibitively expensive for most newly arrived Irish families, so they began cooking beefthe staple meat in the American dietinstead.
So how did pork and potatoes become corned beef and cabbage? Irish immigrants to America lived alongside other undesirable European ethnic groups that often faced discrimination in their new home, including Jews and Italians. Members of the Irish working class in New York City frequented Jewish delis and lunch carts, and it was there that they first tasted corned beef. Cured and cooked much like Irish bacon, it was seen as a tasty and cheaper alternative to pork. And while potatoes were certainly available in the United States, cabbage offered a more cost-effective alternative to cash-strapped Irish families. Cooked in the same pot, the spiced, salty beef flavored the plain cabbage, creating a simple, hearty dish that couldnt be easier to prepare.
After taking off among New York Citys Irish community, corned beef and cabbage found fans across the country. It was the perfect dish for everyone from harried housewives to busy cooks on trains and in cafeteriascheap, easy to cook and hard to overcook. It was even served alongside mock turtle coup at President Lincolns inauguration dinner in 1862.
Far from being as Irish as a shamrock field, this St. Patricks Day classic is as American as apple pie.
It’s Irish because we Irish say it is!! Happy St. Pat’s Day!
“Mock turtle coup”
...Better be wary of those ninja terrapins, lol
I like it whether it originated here or there.
Had it last night and left overs tonight !
Had some last night for supper. Made it in the slow cooker. Great comfort food to enjoy as the snow was falling outside the window.
My Dad’s side is Irish. We’ve always had what his Mom cooked... lamb stew and soda bread. Or, boiled ham with potatoes and cabbage. To be honest... we always joked that the Irish came to America to escape boring food! LOL!
Can’t wait for my corned beef and cabbage tonight. Have to inhale it before running the kids to practice! Hopefully lots of leftovers. Better start guzzling water now.
When I was growing up my mother cooked it every St. Patrick's Day and I never cared for it. When I was 10 and I saw the big pot boiling March 17, I shocked my mother by making spaghetti.
The joke in my family is that our ancestors came here from Ireland because in America they could find Italian women to marry who could cook for them. Otherwise we’d all have starved.
My mother would make it every year, just as pictures, with cabbage, potatoes, and carrots, boiled for hours. I do love the meal, but probably have not had it since childhood, due to no one I have lived with in my adulthood likes corned beef or cabbage.
It’s O’Carl’s, tonight at Carlo’s dinner table.. Corned Beef, potatoes, and cabbage.. I’ll be feeding the neighbors, and family.. Yes I love it, however, the windows and doors, will be opened during the preparation, as a precaution, or we’ll be reminded of it for days to come.. :)
“Or, boiled ham with potatoes and cabbage.”
With butter and vinegar.
Just got mine going in the crock pot. Last 4 or 5 times I made it in the crock pot, the corn beef was very tough. This time around I’m going to cook the crap out of it on high instead of low.
Yes! I liked the leftovers even better.. FRIED! Mom would fry everything up with some onion, salt and pepper.
The 99, a mostly-in-New-England restaurant chain, has it on their menu today.
Years ago I and a friend headed into Boston on St Patrick’s Day and we wanted to go to the Black Rose (my brother in law’s family, the Sweeneys, ran it) but when we got there we found there was no food, only music and dancing. So instead we went to the North End and celebrated the day of the Irish by having pizza at the (now gone) European! (I believe the North End was orig. an Irish enclave...home at one time to the Kennedys and the Bulgers.)
I’ve long been curious about the association of corned beef (served with cabbage, though that’s not the thing that matters) with St. Patrick’s Day. The Feast of Patrick, Enlightener of Ireland and Bishop of Armagh (as we in the East call the day when we’re feeling like trotting out full, glorious, Byzantine-style titles) invariably falls during Lent, when, until the Second Vatican Council our separated Latin brethren were forbidden from eating flesh-meats. Did the Irish church give a complete dispensation from fasting on the feast? (If so I then understand the association, since corned beef, being a preserved meat product, would have been conveniently available in the middle of the fast.)
A blessed Feast of Patrick, Enlightener of Ireland and Bishop of Armagh, to all.