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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

#sol15 March 17 Corned Beef - Once a Year

While everyone is Irish today, I'm 50% Irish all year through! Like most everyone (who remembers),I will wear some green. I'll think about those who take off from work to attend the big parade in NYC.  I'll think about those who will be celebrating late into the night.  I'll laugh about leprechauns with my first graders! 

Like many, I will cook and eat corned beef and cabbage (even though I could live without it) because that is what you are supposed to do, on St. Patrick's Day, right?  Yet, it's hard to find a good cut of corned beef (although Moseys is the best around here).  It can be hard to cook and sometimes comes out stringy or whimpy after cooking to long.  Sometimes, it's a bit salty.  I use a lot of mustard and throw in lots and lots of carrots to make it work.  If it was up to me, we'd have a kale salad with lots of Irish soda bread on the side and call  it a day.  However, my 100% Italian husband really likes corned beef! 
Once, long ago, when I was trying to get out of the work/stress associated with the cooking/eating corned beef ritual, I did a bit of research!  Corned beef really isn't Irish, I found.  It's as American as apple pie! In fact the idea of a parade is American, too.

Irish settlers came up with the idea of a parade in NYC (1762) to celebrate their growing numbers.  There were lots of Irish immigrants arriving here and they brought their traditions, like Irish soda bread. In the NYC delis, immigrants learned to love (and then to cook) corned beef stretching it with a few potatoes and lots of cheap cabbage!

Corned beef became a cheap, easy to prepare, American classic quickly.  In 1862, Lincoln even served it at his inauguration dinner and we know he wasn't Irish, or was he? 

6 comments:

shogem said...

Thank you for some background on the Irish traditions in America. I am one of 7 Irish kids in my family. Every St. Patrick's Day I dreaded cabbage and am not a huge fan of corned beef. I usually opt for potato soup now that I am adult.

Carol Varsalona said...

Anita, your picture of the Irish meal makes me remember that today is St. Patrick's Day which my Italian family always honors. My daughter married into a true Irish family so when we all get together for an Irish meal it is very festive. Your post was filled with fun facts that I will share. Now, off to eat my soda bread.

LInda Baie said...

Love hearing the background, Anita. I think St. Patrick's Day here might also be "uplifted" by the card and candy companies. The aisle at the grocery is filled with green! Our kids at school enjoy it very much, however, looking for someone to pinch!

Tara Smith said...

We had corned beef and cabbage over the weekend when our daughter was home, Anita - so we follow this tradition, too - and I can't say that I love the dish, either. I did not know that Lincoln served it at his Inauguration...that makes me like it just a bit better, though.

Theresa Narvesen said...

I love corned beef. While I'm also 100% Italian, I need to cook it each year. My husband doesn't like it, so I stand alone on this one. :-)

beckymusician said...

Happy St. Patrick's Day! A friend told me that she made corned beef jerky for dinner - she was boiling it, then decided to put it in the oven, and forgot about it! It's interesting that so much of the celebration is actually American. I had no idea that there were so many Irish in the colonies in 1762 that they would decide to have a parade. We tend to focus on the colonists from England and overlook those who came early from other countries.