3 myths busted about corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day

Corned beef and cabbage:

Myth #1: it’s too involved to make. Myth #1 busted. It’s much easier to braise a piece of corned beef with a passle of veggies than sourcing, searing and saucing those Korean short ribs you’ve been coddling in the slow cooker for a week.

Myth #2: it has so many ingredients, it must be expensive. Busted! The total for my ingredients, including the piece of corned beef ($3.14), totalled:$7.61. That’s also counting entire bags, which I won’t use in the final dish, of potatoes, carrots and pearl onions. So cut that amount in half, and you’ll see how cheap this dish really is.

A kit from the supermarket is just fine for Corned Beef and Cabbage (and super cheap)

Which brings us to Myth #3: Corned Beef and Cabbage is an Irish-American “invention.” Darn, your beliefs die hard. Because beef was so relatively expensive for the Irish, even before they became Irish immigrants to America, they often cooked a side of bacon with root vegetables for a “boiled dinner.” But trust me, when they could afford the corned beef cured and processed in their own homeland, they ate it.

Cork, Ireland was one of the world’s biggest producers of tinned corned beef in the world in the 1700’s and 1800’s. Most of it was exported, like much of the best crops and livestock raised on the Ould Sod. (Thanks, Brits!). And when they finally did come over, those Irish landing on American soil, they took to the brisket cured in Jewish deli’s. Similar cut of beef, cured with salt, and they were transported (at least culinarily) back home.

Corned beef and cabbage is on the menu

I have written about this before, this thing about Americans thinking Corned beef and cabbage is an Irish-American invention. I argued, with lots of sources, that it comes from Ireland and that is that.

Turns out the Irish have also long-disparaged those “eejit” (idiot) Americans who think CB & C is Irish. So here is my proof this year. An article from The Irish Times titled Why are millions of Irish-Americans serving corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day?

Writer Aoife McElwain writes of the dish being mentioned in a poem from the 11th century, demonstrating how far back beef figured in Irish cuisine. But first let’s start with her definition of corned beef:

“In its purest form (ie not a tin of Spam), it’s salt-cured beef. It’s known as corned beef because the grains of rock salt used to cure it can be referred to as corns of salt.”

For the reasons I outlined above, many Irish resorted to the less expensive cut of bacon in their culinary repetoire.

Green beer? Strictly an “eejit” American invention that should be made illegal before it’s covered under some Constitutional Amendment.

See the link to the article below. Read it and weep, if you are still not convinced.

And since I’m “as Irish as Paddy’s pig,” I lift my glass of stout to you and wish you a great St. Paddy’s Day!

My favorite stouts: Cadillac Mountain (Maine), Mean Old Tom (Maine) and what’s wrong with Guinness?




Why are millions of irish americans serving corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day




Kate Cone

About Kate Cone

Kate Cone has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, is a freelance writer and the author of "What's Brewing in New England: A Guide to Brewpubs and Microbreweries," published by Downeast Publications in 1997 and completely updated in 2016. She has been a foodie since age 8, when her dad taught her how to make coffee and an omelet, lifelong skills for happy eating.