Did you remember to don your green today?? Finally the day that many have waited for the season of green beer, bagels and milkshakes. There are many foods like shamrock shaped cookies or green frosted cupcakes that are not traditional Irish foods but very much associated with St. Patrick's day. The traditional meal for St. Paddy's days is corned beef and cabbage. The dish came about when Irish Americans transformed and reinterpreted a tradition imported from the Emerald Isle.
The first St. Patrick's Day parade took place not in Dublin but in New York City n 1762. During the 1800s Irish immigration to the United States would grow. When the immigrants arrived so did the wave of immigrants brought their own food traditions, including soda bread and Irish stew. Pork was the preferred meat, it was cheap in Ireland and was great on the dinner table. Irish bacon, a lean, smoked pork loin very much like Canadian bacon was a favorite meat. Pork was very expensive in the United States for most and so the immigrants turned to a staple meat in the American diet. From pork and potatoes came corned beef and cabbage.
Irish immigrants lived beside and among others from European groups such as Jews and Italians The Irish working class in New York City often visited Jewish deli and lunch carts. This is where they tasted corned beef. This was often cured and cooked much like Irish bacon and was tastier and cheaper alternative as well.
While potatoes were available in the United States, cabbage offered a more cost-effective alternative to cash strapped Irish families. Cooking the spiced salty beef in the same pot as the cabbage offered a simple hearty dish that was easy to prepare.
Today there are corned beef and cabbage fans across the country. The perfect dish for everyone from housewives to busy cooks on trains and in cafeterias. The meal is cheap and easy to cook In 1862 Corned beef and potatoes was served at President Lincoln's inauguration dinner. Corned Beef and Cabbage may not be traditional but in the United States is as traditional to St. Patrick's Day as baseball and apple pie are.