Written by adam on Mar 17, 2006
St. Patrick's Day: Corned Beef Explained
Filed Under: Editorial
Happy St. Patrick's Day! I hope that you are prepared for a good old-fashioned Irish celebration: drinking and puking! But on this day, it is a question that drives us. What is corned beef? Where did it come from and why do the Irish eat it? Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! If a man can't get an answer to this question on St. Patrick's Day, what can a man get?
In the United States, corned beef is often purchased at delicatessens. Perhaps the most famous sandwich made with it is the Reuben sandwich, consisting of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing on rye bread and served hot.
It is also associated with Saint Patrick's Day when Irish Americans eat a traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage. According to the History Channel, while cabbage has long been a traditional food item for the Irish, corned beef serving as a substitute for Irish bacon first became traditional in the late 1800s. Irish immigrants living in New York City's Lower East Side learned about this cheaper alternative to bacon from their Jewish neighbors.
You see, while the Wiki's entry on corned feef is accurate, it does not address the real issue at hand. People in this country are under the delusion that corned beef and cabbage is an Irish meal, more specifically that corned beef is inherently Irish.
Corned Beef is not Irish. It does not come from Ireland. In fact, corned beef, much like a lot of other cured delicatessan meats is Jewish. It was only adopted by Irish immigrants in the United States.
One of the cool things about corned beef is that it usually is made with one of my favorite cuts of meat, the brisket. Hello corned beef? Yes, this is Texas calling. Our barbeque needs the brisket back, please. Yes, we'll hold ...
Here's an interesting recipe for corned-beef I found on the Jewish-food archives: corned beef 1 (warning: only attempt this one if you have about 10 days to spare).