why eat corned beef on st patty’s day

What has become a tradition of eating corned beef and cabbage to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day likely grew out of the fact that those foods were less expensive for immigrants who came to America. They substituted beef for pork and cabbage for potatoes.

One of the most anticipated March holidays is St. Patricks Day. In the U.S., that means shamrocks strewn across faces, green beer, and Irish food. But guess what—some of your favorite Irish treats might not be all that Irish after all. Heres a history of a few of those iconic St. Paddys Day dishes.

The Rise of Corned Beef

why eat corned beef on st pattys day

In Ireland, beef was a meat reserved for the wealthy, and most of it was exported to England. The Great Famine resulting from potato blight caused the mass migration of the Irish to the shores of the new world. In this new American home, corned beef was readily available to the Irish immigrants. Long deprived of the beef that was salted by Irish hands, the migrants gladly purchased the food they finally could afford. Although the kosher cut was different from the beef their great grandparents enjoyed, the meal became a comfort for the newly-minted Americans. This article in Smithsonian Magazine covers the entire history of the meat that has become synonymous with the day.

The Feast of Saint Patrick

why eat corned beef on st pattys day

One could argue that the modern way of celebrating of St. Patrick’s Day is purely Irish-American. As covered in last year’s post, historically, the holiday was religious and reflective, celebrated by sharing cultural lore and honoring St. Patrick. However, there are many similarities between the historic celebrations of honoring the saint, and our traditions today. Observing the old ways in remembrance of their homeland helped unite the scattered Irish migrants. So, as they did in Ireland, Irish-Americans carried over the tradition of wearing shamrocks and enjoying Irish libations, such as Guinness and Irish whiskey. And today as in days of old, we enjoy soda bread and cabbage. Read our post from last year to get great recipes for both, as well as the full meal and leftovers.

why eat corned beef on st pattys day

Now that you know the reason we eat corned beef and celebrate the day, we get to the good part: cooking the meal! Butcher Boy Market makes grey corned beef and corned ribs, sells red corned beef, and serves grey corned beef dinners in our kitchen. Feel like making your meal at home? The key is to cook the beef slowly to create a tender, flavorful meal. Consult this guide from The Spruce on cooking corned beef three delicious ways: boiled, baked, or submerged in a slow cooker. Each way has its benefits. If you enjoy a crispy crust, then baking is for you! If you plan on spending the day out at a parade, slow cooker is the way to go. If you’re truly going traditional, then broiling will be the ticket to your perfect St. Paddy’s Day meal.

Corned beef and cabbage isnt actually the national dish of Ireland. You wouldnt eat it on St. Patricks Day in Dublin, nor would you be likely to find it in Cork. Its typically only eaten around the holiday here in the U.S. So how did corned beef and cabbage become synonymous with the Irish?

There is no Coke or Pepsi in Irish Soda Bread. The term “soda” comes from bicarbonate of soda—more commonly known as baking soda—which is a leavening agent and one of the main ingredients that gives the bread its distinct flavor. Before ovens were in every kitchen, the bread was baked over an open fire in a round pot or casserole or baked on an iron plate over remaining embers. Thus, the reason why the bread is round and cut into pie pieces.

One of the most anticipated March holidays is St. Patricks Day. In the U.S., that means shamrocks strewn across faces, green beer, and Irish food. But guess what—some of your favorite Irish treats might not be all that Irish after all. Heres a history of a few of those iconic St. Paddys Day dishes.

“The cannon part of the name might be a derivative of the old Irish cainnenn, translated variously as garlic, onion, or leek,” states the publication. The recipe first appeared in print in 1775 in the diary of William Bulkely, and in the U.S., a recipe entitled “Cabbage and Potatoes” appeared in the 1847 publication of Mrs. Crowens American Ladys Cookery Book.

During the time of the Irish immigration to the U.S., the first generation of Irish Americans were in search of the comforting tastes of their homeland. On St. Paddys Day, that meant boiled bacon. But the immigrants were too poor to afford the high price of pork and bacon products. Instead, they turned to the cheapest cut of meat available: beef brisket.

What has become a tradition of eating corned beef and cabbage to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day likely grew out of the fact that those foods were less expensive for immigrants who came to America. They substituted beef for pork and cabbage for potatoes.

FAQ

Why is corned beef an Irish thing?

With more money for food, the Irish could afford meat for the first time. But instead of their beloved bacon, the Irish began eating beef. And the beef they could afford just happened to be corned beef, the thing their great-grandparents were famous for.

Is it a sin to eat corned beef on St Patricks Day?

Patrick’s Day, dioceses say. In the Catholic faith, eating meat is generally not allowed on Fridays during lent, but bishops across the area are making an exception this Friday because it’s St. Patrick’s Day.

Why do you eat corned beef and cabbage on New Year’s Day?

Many with Irish heritage prepare Corned beef and cabbage dinner on New Year’s day. It is associated with the fortune you should hope for in the coming year. Beef or pork is the meat of choice because unlike chickens these animals do not scratch in the dirt for their food.

Why is corned beef important?

Corned beef is an excellent source of protein, vitamin B12, and iron. Individually, these nutrients play many roles in your body, but they all collaborate to make healthy red blood cells ( 2 , 4 , 5 ).

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