Is Corn beef an Irish dish?
- Vital Info Mar 13, 2002 09:37 AM
In all the talk about authenticity, no one mentioned (as far as I can tell) the single greatest shot across the bow of the authenticity battle-ship--corn beef for st. patrick's day.
Maybe it is a ethnic pride thing for me, but it is my understanding that no one eats corn beef in Ireland, except for maybe expat New Yorkers flying it in from Carnegie.
Does it make a difference?
Corned beef is something entirely different in Ireland. It comes in a can and is more like Hormel's deviled ham than anything else in America. What we call corned beef in America is called salted beef in Ireland, and almost never eaten. It's considered unpalatable.
The most authentic Irish dish is probably lamb stew with a side of boiled spuds. In my experience, the Irish think it's weird that Irish-Americans associate corned beef with Ireland.
I've actually had corned beef & cabbage in Ireland, though perhaps my aunt thought she was making an "American" dish to make us feel at home.
I think the dish being replicated is bacon & cabbage; Irish bacon being salt-cured instead of smoked, and readily available in bulk sizes. I think some enterprising pub owner back in the day tried to serve bacon & cabbage on St. Pat's day and substituted corned beef for the bacon.
Everyone knows that corned beef was brought to the new world by that famous Irish immigrant Seamus O'Schwartz.
According to the following link, "The traditional meal is Irish bacon and cabbage. When Irish immigrants were flooding the shores of the USA they were poor and couldnt afford such a delicacy as Irish bacon. So they borrowed the cheaper alternative of corned beef from their Jewish neighbors."