Monday, March 13, 2017

St Patrick's Day and Corned Beef

March 17th – St. Patrick’s Day - one of my favorite days and I’m not Irish but I love corned beef and cabbage – and of course – green beer.
So off to Wikipedia to find out the history.  Saint Patrick's Day was made an official Christian feast day the early 17th century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Lutheran Church. The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland and celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general. Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, ceilidhs, and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks. Historically the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol were lifted for the day. And March 17th is traditional death date of Saint Patrick. (AD 385–461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland.

As for the corned beef and cabbage – In every Irish establishment, and many others, especially around St. Patrick’s Day, corned beef and cabbage will make its way onto the menu, marking a "tip of the cap" to the Irish around March 17. Another annual occurrence is Irish people complaining that this is not, in fact, an Irish dish at all, but is this true?

Beef was not readily available in Ireland and was considered a luxury and that’s why the traditional Irish meal centered around ham, the bacon. But when these Irish got off the boats in America it was quite the opposite. Corned beef was the meat that they could easily and more cheaply get their hands on and, so, this became the meal of choice for generations of Irish Americans to come.

In New England, a tradition formed of having a boiled dinner. For this dish, the corned beef, cabbage, and root vegetables such as carrots, turnips, and potatoes were boiled.

Many maintain that the dish is simply not Irish at all. According to, when the Irish arrived in America, they couldn’t find a bacon joint like they had in Ireland so they gravitated toward the Jewish corned beef, which was very similar in texture.
So there you go, and friends of mine who are Catholic, told me that and edict (or declaration) had come down that Catholics may eat corned beef (instead of fish) this Friday, March 17th – but they must do something nice for someone to compensate.
Happy St. Patrick's Day - a little early!


  1. Just like everything else, food changes when cultures move. I'm so glad that we have some of the different foods which I didn't have available when I was younger.

  2. You're right. It's interesting how the times, the cultures and the areas can make changes to foods and dishes.

  3. I haven't had corn beef hash in ages. My mom used to make it every now and then. She isn't Irish, just English-German mix. There is a little Irish on my dad's side.

    Happy St. Patrick's Day.

  4. Let that little Irish out on the 17th. :) Thanks for dropping by.