Corned Beef and Cabage for St. Patrick’s Day: Traditional or Not?

As St. Patrick’s Day approaches – it’s tomorrow, if you hadn’t heard – the internet was abuzz looking for corned beef and cabbage recipes. Every food round-up for St. Patrick’s Day feasts includes at least one variation, and more people go on and on about this “traditional Irish food.”

While I love corned beef, it’s not the traditional Irish dish we seem to think it is.

Corned beef is a cured piece of beef, usually the brisket. From what I’ve been able to gather, in Ireland it was a dish that was less easy to come by and reserved for the social elite. This wasn’t an item regularly seen on the everyday Irishman’s menu, and nor is it today.

A reader of TidyMom’s commented this week, “Happy St Patricks Day from N Ireland…I have never eaten corned beef and cabbage, and never seen it served here.”

YourIrish would have us believe that it’s Irish immigrants in North America who started using corned beef, which seems rather likely given the information, and I don’t really know that there’s a problem with that. In Ireland they might have enjoy bacon and cabbage, and when they came to the U.S., finding no Irish bacon, they turned to corned beef and cabbage for the same thing.

So, here in the States, corned beef and cabbage reigns supreme as the St. Patrick’s Day dish of the day. In Ireland you might enjoy a roast and a pile of colcannon. The wearing of green happens to be universal. There is a lack of green beer in Ireland, too, which is fine by me. I’d much rather enjoy a Guinness than a green beer any day.

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Article Posted 5 years Ago

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