The best thing about corned beef, in my opinion, is the corned beef hash that I make with the leftovers! Yes, this mostly German-Scottish girl … with just a trace of Ireland in her veins … is not a fan of corned beef. I cook it, though, because my family loves it … and I love what is left!
What about the origin of corned beef? Corning meat dates to the earliest times when one of the only methods of preserving meat was to rub it and surround it with large particles of salt … the ‘corn’ refers to the nuggets of salt. By the days of Napoleon, the Irish city of Cork had become the center of beef production in Europe and the curing industry was their largest ... so corned beef does have a strong connection to Ireland.
Most food historians believe that eating corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day is an American invention … and that the earliest Irish families … who had recently relocated to the United States … ate corned beef only because they couldn’t afford anything better. They borrowed this celebratory product from their Jewish neighbors and bought it from Jewish markets! The other interesting note is that the early recipes for New England Boiled Dinner call for salt cured (corned) beef, predating the Irish migration to our country by over a century!
So, how Irish is corned beef? Irish enough for me! Visit my original post to get the recipe!