The classic corned beef and cabbage dinner is the favorite meal of St. Patrick’s Day but you may be surprised to learn it isn’t the authentic Irish meal.
Americans have been enjoying corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day for so long that it’s hard to imagine celebrating the holiday without the popular dish. But did you know that it isn’t even a traditional Irish recipe?
Starting around the 1760’s Irish immigration to American experienced about a 100 year boom. The immigrants brought their own traditional foods with them, but also had to adapt some of their favorites. Pork was the preferred meat in Ireland as it was inexpensive and plentiful. But at that time in America pork was more expensive so they began cooking the more accessible beef.
Unfortunately, during this time period the Irish were among other European ethnic groups that experienced a great deal discrimination. Because of this many Irish patronized Jewish delis, where they were introduced to corned beef. It was delicious and affordable and became a favorite of the Irish immigrants. They traditionally served boiled potatoes with pork in Ireland, but cabbage was very cheap in American and when cooked in the same dish as the corned beef, it made a simple, satisfying meal. As corned beef and cabbage became popular with the Irish population is eventually spread around the country and became a favorite with busy homemakers and businesses alike due to the affordability and ease of preparation.