Corned Beef and Cabbage has become the signature St Patrick’s Day meal. Why?
Corned beef and cabbage isn’t actually the national dish of Ireland. You wouldn’t eat it for a St Patrick’s Day meal in Dublin, nor would you be likely to find it in County Cork. So how did Corned Beef and Cabbage become synonymous with the Irish?
During the time of the Irish immigration to the U.S., the first generation of Irish-Americans were in search of the comforting tastes of their homeland. A St Patrick’s Day meal meant boiled bacon. But the immigrants were too poor to afford the high price of pork and bacon products. Instead, they turned to the cheapest cut of meat available: beef brisket. Given that New York City was a melting pot for immigrants from around the world, rather than boil the beef, the Irish adopted cooking methods from other cultures. Brining was a technique of the Eastern Europeans, which is a way of salt-curing meat.
And the corn? Well, “corned” has nothing to do with corn but instead refers to the corn-sized salt crystals used during the brining process. The corned beef was paired with cabbage, as it was one of the cheapest vegetables available to the Irish immigrants. So are you really celebrating Irish heritage from the old country or wanting to somehow feel connected to an ancestors’ heritage?
Image Source: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/beef-products/3488/2