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Mar 15, 2009 10:22 AM

St. Pat's Pastrami

Searching the FPFM for the obligatory corned beef, I took a pass on Fatted Calf ($10.00 lb.) and was about to settle for a Marin Sun Farms flat cut (preferring the point) at $7.00 lb. (actually $6.99, but who falls for that?) when I saw point cut Pastrami, unsliced, for the same price. Why not? Pastrami and cabbage. Erin go oy! Incidentally, corned beef is not so much an Irish as Irish-American specialty. I've read that in Ireland gammon (bacon) and cabbage is the thing. In the USA the "narrowbacks" (non-lace curtain Irish) would go to the docks to purchase old salt beef from incoming ships anxious to freshen their ships stores. Ah, nostalgia.

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  1. Gammon is unsmoked ham. There's no particular dish people in Ireland eat on St. Patrick's Day. It's not a big drinking holiday, either.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Wrong there. Bacon and cabbage is the traditional Irish St. Patrick's dinner (served mid-day). St. Patrick's Day is a religious holiday and the day feels much like a Sunday, with Mass in the morning and then the bacon and cabbage meal. The big drinking takes place the night before, with the tradition being called "drowning the shamrock." My relatives attributed the solemnness of the day itself to the wickedness of the hangover from the night before and not so much to the religious significance of the holiday. About 10 years ago, emigres returning from successful lives in the US (primarily NYC) created a NYC-like parade in Dublin, which is now a huge extravaganza rivaling NYC's. No green beer though, that will always be black on the Auld Sod !!!

      1. re: NoeMan

        Most of the Irish natives I've asked about how they celebrate the holiday didn't even mention food, only church and the pub. See the phone survey here:

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Now what do you suppose they are doing with all that boiling bacon?
          Meanwhile, inspection of two of the local branches of the two major supermarket chains (Tesco in Arklow, and Superquinn in Carlow) revealed a total of eight packages of corned beef (about evenly divided between brisket and silverside). These were vastly outnumbered by heaps of boiling bacon -- a couple hundred pounds' weight of it in each store.

          1. re: NoeMan

            Was just talking with my business associates in N. Ireland this morning who advise no tradition of corned beef and cabbage over there on St. Paddy's Day. They might have some Irish stew, or gammon as suggested.

            However, I do believe they will manage to wash down their holiday repast with some fine stout and Irish whiskey. Magic!

              1. re: wolfe

                Reminds me of my favorite short joke." Two Irishmen walk out of a bar...hey, it could happen!" Seriously though, I hear from Jack The Jockey, an antique Dubliner to the core, that back in the day the pubs were closed for the holiday and the only bar open in town was at the Irish Kennel Club dog show, making it the best attended dog show in the universe. Seriously though, the point of my original post was to sing the praises of Marin Sun Farms' most excellent bargain pastrami. Now on to San Giuseppe and zeppole. So many saints, and so little time.

        2. Thanks for reminding me that before he moved, every year Morton the Mousse would remind people that Cafe Rouge makes corned beef once a year

          From one of the above posts

          "Just wanted to give everyone a heads up - Cafe Rouge makes corned beef in house once per year for St Patricks Day. Given the lack of good delis in the Bay Area, this is a rare treat. You can buy it from the meat market, raw or cooked. They also usually feature it in a sandwich on the restaurant lunch menu ... You may want to preorder; they usually sell out"

          Now if I don't forget once again on St. Patrick's Day, I'll have to give it a try.

          1. Someone please call Dublin and tell them it's just an ordinary day.