These days, we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by eating potato soup, but back in the day before we were mostly vegetarian, we ate corned beef and had corned beef hash for leftovers.
Corned beef originated in Medieval Europe, although preserving meat with salt dates from ancient times. In 11th Century Cork, Ireland, beef was preserved with grains or “corns” of salt, and became a major exporter of “corned beef” well into the 1800s.Irish corned beef spread to the New World and went to two world wars with British soldiers.
Meanwhile, Jewish cooks were also curing beef with salt and spices. In the USA, delicatessens like Russ and Daughters were set up by Jewish immigrants to serve the needs of other immigrants who, for one reason or another, couldn’t cook Kosher food for themselves.
Descendants of Irish immigrants, who brought Cork’s corned beef and Ireland’s colcannon (boiled cabbage and onions) to their new country, established corned beef and cabbage as “traditional” St. Patrick’s Day fare, although St. Patrick’s Day has always been celebrated more grandly in America than in Ireland.
Corned beef and corned beef hash are available in tins, and are good enough that way, but corned beef hash is better when it’s made fresh from your own roasted or boiled brisket.
Whether I have it simmered slowly with cabbage and root vegetables, sliced thin between two slices of rye bread, or chopped and fried with potatoes and onions, corned beef is still always a treat when I can get it.
I’m posting at Fatal Foodies today about my Pi Day dinner pie. Tomorrow, I’ll post on this blog about my Pi Day dessert pie. Today’s post here was about food because.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Two people of different ethnic backgrounds discover they have something basic in common.