Saturday, March 15, 2014

Is Corned Beef and Cabbage Really Irish?

IS CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE a traditional Irish dish, or was it created by impoverished Irish American immigrants who needed an affordable alternative to chicken to put on their Sunday dinner table?

To set the record straight, I have extensively researched this topic and discovered corned beef and cabbage is definitely from Ireland, though people there today mostly eat fish, pork and mutton.

Corned beef originated in the 17th century as a way of preserving beef before there was refrigeration. The word "corn" in corned beef refers to the large chunks of salt that were used in the brine.

I discovered that a corned beef processing plant was established in the port city of Cork, Ireland, in 1682, to provide provisions for ships crossing the Atlantic. In fact, between the 1680s and 1825, corning beef was Cork's most important industry.

True, most of the Irish corned beef was exported to Britain and Europe, but some Irish people ate it with cabbage to break the Lenten fast on Easter. Irish immigrants mostly likely brought corned beef with them when they came to America.

Properly prepared, corned beef and cabbage is a lusty, scrumptious, satisfying dish. And now that you know it is truly Irish, you can enjoy it completely on St. Patrick's Day (and any other day) without feeling even a wee bit guilty!