We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Sunday, March 14. 2021
St. Patrick wasn't Irish - and Corned Beef and Cabbage isn't Irish either
Just wanted to set the record straight on the historical facts. Even worse, his name wasn't Patrick.
He was an England-born slave of Irish raiders. Since England was still Roman in 400, he really was a colonial Roman.
The "snakes" he drove out of Ireland were the pagan beliefs. Ireland never had real snakes.
The Irish do not cook Corned Beef and Cabbage - except for American tourists
What is Irish? Shepherd's Pie is.
I happen to love corned beef and cabbage (plus potatoes) - as long as there is plenty of horseradish mustard and beer.
The real name of the meal is New England Boiled Dinner. I cook it all together in a giant pot. If the pickled beef needs a knife, it's underdone. I think it should almost crumble.
I make some for family, including my Irish father-in-law, yearly. No Guiness, though. It really does not go with food in my opinion. Heck, it's a meal in itself. In Irish pubs, they throw one or two raw eggs in it, stir it up, and call it breakfast.
(Our kids are 25% Irish, 25% Southern Italian, 40% English, and 10% Scandinavian probably via the Norman invasion. In other words, all- American. Genetic mongrelization worked well for our kids, cuz I am 90% English, around 10% Scandinavian and thus overly-inbred in New England since the 1600s.)
Posted by Bird Dog in Food and Drink at 15:00 | Comments (53) | Trackbacks (0)
Trackback specific URI for this entry
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
Well, I do know all that stuff but I could care less and will be having, as usual, corned beef and cabbage on St.Patrick's Day.
It would be interesting to find out how corned beef and cabbage became the "official" dinner of St. Patrick's day.
Could it be because Irish families, when they first immigrated to America, would often have stew for dinner as a way to stretch their food dollar and feed a large family?
It is wonderful being married a real honest-to-pete 100% Irish lass who can make a wicked Shepherds Pie. She spent a lot of time as a young lady visiting Ireland with her parents and learned it from her Grandmother who lived in a little coastal village (with an unprouncable Gaelic name) due West of Galway.
Nom, nom, nom....
So you can say I'm Irish by marriage - HA!!
And I love corn beef and cabbage or as you say, New England Boiled Dinner.
Bacon and cabbage (and boiled potatoes in their jackets) was the most common meal eaten in Ireland up until about a generation or two ago.
Maybe corned beef was easier to get in America- it's salty and looks close enough to bacon
Liverpool is Irish through and through and we eat plenty of corned beef and cabbage.
I grew up in the 40's and 50's within sight of Boston. The restaurants served a New England boiled dinner as a standard menu item and as a special every Thursday. As I remember rutabagas were a staple as were potatoes and cabbage. Some kind of meat usually but not always corned beef. Sometimes carrots but more often not and a thin gravy or gruel that was tasty enough to clean off the plate with your bread. To this day it is my favorite meal.
I believe that corned beef was introduced to the Irish as a ham substitute by the Jewish people that lived in the tenements with them. It was tasty as well as affordable and was similar to the Ham and cabbage that the Irish had as a staple at home. At least that's what my grandfather told me and he came here ~1910.
One other point. Way back then most people in the Boston area called rutabagas "turnips" (which I believe that they actually are in that family). So when you see "turnips" in a recipe from New England it could well be that they meant rutabagas.
Any one else catch this howler in the link:
"In the 17th and 18th centuries, the cattle raised in the country were often used for corned beef -- which then went primarily into the mouths of British civilians and the British and U.S. military"?
Really? Which branch of the US military was consuming beef in the 17th century?
Saint Patrick was a witch hunter who rounded up the old pagan women of Ireland and threw them into the sea where they "became mermaids". Snakes are a metaphor for pagans.
Indeed ... working people's food in Yankee land. The Jewish folks brought us the red corned beef (New England style is a rather ugly brownish grey looking thing). The Irish immigrants adopted the dish. It's good eats no matter the history.
BTW, anyone have a line on where to get the New England style Corned Beef out here in the mid-west?
I remember the first and perhaps the last time I had a New England Boiled Dinner. At Newport while in OCS. You ate what you got and boiled meat, boiled potatoes, boiled cabbage, boiled carrots was somewhat disconcerting, though not terrible with mustard. Topped off with tapioca pudding. I decided then and there to seek assignment somewhere other than New England.
Instead I ended up on a hydro ship out of Seattle, where many felt that salt was a spice instead of a staple. That is why McIlhenny's make tiny bottles of tabasco sauce.
The best Shepard's Pie I've ever had my wife made it. She was Japanese-German (you might say I surrendered to the power of the Axis).
My Danish mother was the person who made the Corned Beef and Cabbage on St. Patrick's Day. (delish) Once we went over to my (real) Irish aunt and dined on her CBC, my father warned me in advance not to say anything bad about the food. That woman could burn water.
It became my firm belief that ethnicity bestowed no advantage whatsoever. But someone how is a natural good cook can rise to the occasion with any dish.
Up here in Canada we get corned beef but we also get a similar product, Montreal Smoked Meat. It's beef brisket too, but somewhat different and better, I think.
When you say "boil" do you mean "steam"? Because we steam it, not boil it.
It just occurred to me, I'm working way to hard on my blog.
I annoy my wife by pointing out that if it's made with beef, it's technically Cottage Pie.
My (half) Irish grandmother always made ham & cabbage, never corned beef. It was a regular family meal growing up. When I was a little kid my best friend's mom made to-die-for rice pudding, another Irish staple.
As A Canadian resident of Ireland and a Catholic, this is something I find a bit annoying. There is Paddy's day , there is Patrick's day, There is St. Patrick's day... but there is NO St. Paddy's day.Sure corned beef and cabbage is not Irish but I greatly enjoy Bacon ( in the Irish sense.) and cabbage with spuds several times per week.
Take corned beef, wash, make a sauce of brown sugar and yellow mustard, coat the meat a slow cook in a 275 degree oven until falling apart done. Not boiled dinner, but very tasty.
HINT: Do not boil the cabbage. Add it to the hot broth at the end & gently heat to desired tenderness. Boiling releases nasty sulfides. I have 4 mature heads in my garden now. I cook it often in chicken broth with green onions, a coloring of carrots, & sugar-cured ham, with a slab of hot buttered corn bread. Yum.
All the times I have made corned beef I have boiled it with loads of spices then carrots, onions, and potatoes, for hours, until it falls apart.
The bacon in Ireland is more like Canadian bacon we get in the states, not like our bacon bacon.
As a Canadian and a Catholic with enough Irish in him to more than qualify as "Irish-Canadian", I'm not that bothered with "St Paddy's Day" (I personally never use Patrick or Paddy without Saint in front of it as regards 17 March).
What I do find very odd though is the increasing use of "St Patty's Day" which I see more and more both in Canada and the US. I associate "Patty" with Patricia, not Patrick.
As an aside, the British Army in Upper Canada during the War of 1812 was victualled on salted beef (and pork) from Ireland, supplemented with not inconsiderable quantities of fresh beef from, er, northern New York State.
War or not, business is business!
We understand the Irish bought over corned pork
loin. Since is was pork and fabulous, beef brisket was substituted. Still fabulous.
I mix mustard and brown sugar and use it to smother the rinsed corned beef, then bake it @ 325 for a few hours. As he said, shouldn't need a knife. I do serve it with boiled cabbage, but I'm Swede, Hunky mix, so I can do whatever I want.
My Boston Irish family had a boiled dinner with ham on many Sundays during the year. It was a cheaper cut of ham that was boiled soaked two or three times to remove salt.
My mother and grandmothers would swap out ham for corned beef for St. Patrick's Day. Otherwise the meal was identical. Oh, we would have soda bread on St. Patrick's (with fennel seed, of course), but not with the ham dinners.
The best thing about New England Boiled Dinner (with carrots, parsnips, and turnips, personal preference) is the red flannel hash you have for breakfast the next day. Warmed up in a cast iron skillet with a crater in the middle, filled with a fried egg or two.
Makes your mouth water, doesn't it?
I'm away from home in our little travel trailer. But before we left home I boiled up some corned beef and it is in the freezer. It's not convenient or practical to boil something in the trailer for 4 hours. So tomorrows dinner is corned beef, cabbage, rutabagas and carrots.
Erin go bragh
When I was a penniless student we ate many a meal of boiled cabbage and wieners, so cheap they practically gave the ingredients away.
Corned beef and cabbage is a nice meal, and I'll be having it, but what is better comes the day after: Corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, onions, beets, and the occasional carrot (All NEBD leftovers) diced and sauteed in a hot-buttered cast iron skillet with a couple of eggs frying in a nice pocket in the center of the pan. Red Flannel Hash! It rules, baby.
I'd be grateful for any favorite Shepherd's Pie recipes, Bird Dog.
The best way to eat corned beef is in a Reuben sandwich with home made Russian dressing. When boiled or in a crock pot I like it with carrots and turnips.
No matter what type of hyphenated-American you are, we have one thing in common with the Irish. We can raise a glass of Jameson and curse the English together. Up The Irish.
"We can raise a glass of Jameson and curse the English together."
Without the English, there'd be no America. And if the point of St Patrick's is just to vilify them, then count me out.
(I am not English, by the way, I'm Canadian, Catholic, and half Irish by ancestry.)
I say it mostly in jest. I admire many things about the Enlgish. But, they manage to injure the dignity of almost every people that they come in contact with. Is there a corner of the world that they haven't left in chaos or disruption?
When Ben Franklin looked upon the Irishmen living in mud huts as virtual slaves is when he decided that rebellion was the right choice. He knew that the colonies would have the same fate if we didn't go to war. Up the Rebels. Up the Irish.
New England boiled dinner was my mother's default Sunday dinner. Deelish. She used brisket, not corned beef. The Irish part of her ancestry was Scots-Irish.
Was it the Jews who brought everyone corned beef? My mother grew up on a farm in western Canada way back in the day (we thought of her recently on what would have been her 110th birthday), and she used to recall how her father made really good corned beef every autumn. Rather suspect corned beef is a rural thing rather than a specifically Jewish thing; it could well have been a Jewish firm which commercialized and canned the product.
Bot just born in England, but born a Roman citizen who was taken captive by Irish raiders. He would escape and make his way to Rome where he became a ward in a Roman Senator's home. Eventually he joined the priesthood and returned to the land of Eyre and campaigned against the practice of slavery as well as paganism. With a Roman Senator for a patron, he would have been known as Patrician...and eventually Patric.
No. It's more likely there was confusion about Patrick's Irish name (Paidric) and the word for a reptile "toad" iirc.
I learned about this years ago. Corned Beef is like Chop
Suey or Belgian Waffles. Two of my favorite loves are
Corned Beef and Pastrami. Cooked properly, it is like
eating filet mignon. That said, yesterday I baked a
classic Shepards Pie. It was a simple recipe, and it
But I did have Corned Beef on St. Mick's Day. I am
part Limey, part Kraut, and part Mick, so free to
make with the drinking jokes. I have a sense of
humor and I am offended by nothing!
The best New England Boiled Dinner I have had was at the Durgin-Park restaurant in Boston. Now closed.
I'm 100% Irish, and I have no idea what Irish food is supposed to be. My wife is 100% German, and she doesn't cook anything German. Our four children are halfbreeds who identify as white even though their father is Irish.
I'm an American but my lineage is 100% Irish - from Boston no less, though not Dorchester. The New England Boiled Dinner is a life-long staple on St. Patrick's Day. There have been many occasions when we've had it elsewhere in the year. We make a nice sheet pan soda bread too, with raisins and caraway seeds. Lots of butter on everything but the corned beef - mustard for that. Unlike you, I enjoy a Guinness with mine. But only one.
Patrick was a Roman Briton. England did not yet exist. Before the Anglo-Saxon Migration, there was no place in the world called England.