This Sunday is St. Patrick’s Day – a holiday in which many of us don green apparel and indulge in Irish food and drinks. But some of the iconic dishes we associate with the holiday are not that authentic. Find out more about the history of these St. Patrick’s Day foods.
Corned Beef & Cabbage
Beloved by many beyond the holiday, corned beef and cabbage surprisingly is not something you would eat in Ireland to celebrate, despite its popularity in the U.S. So how did it come to be closely tied with the Irish culture?
During the time of the Irish immigration to the U.S., the first generation of Irish Americans were looking comfort food from home. Because they couldn’t afford pricey pork and bacon products, they turned to beef brisket, the cheapest cut of meat. They then adopted the brining technique of the Eastern Europeans. They used corn-sized salt crystals during the brining process, and thus, corned beef was born. It was then paired with cabbage since it was one of the cheapest vegetables available.
Irish Soda Bread
The misleading name may make you think there is Coke or Pepsi in this bread, but that is not the case. “Soda” refers to bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, which is a leavening agent and one of the main elements that gives this bread its distinct flavor. Back then, bread was baked over an open fire in a round pot or casserole, or baked on an iron plate over remaining embers. This explains why the bread is round and cut into pie pieces. Traditional Irish soda bread is plain, although you may find it flecked with currants or other fruits in the United States. Fruits are only added for special occasions, in which case the bread goes by a different name.
The inspiration for this Irish stout beer came from Great Britain, as it was created in the style of an English porter brew from the late 18th century. Arthur Guinness began making the tangy, creamy, dark beer at St. James’s Gate in Dublin in 1759. It took a decade for his ales to hit the public in England, and then 71 years later, they debuted in New York.
This traditional Irish dish is made of boiled potatoes mashed up with cabbage or kale, and then mixed with onions and butter or cream. The word “colcannon” comes from the Gaelic “cal ceannann” which translates to white-headed cabbage.
Join us this weekend for a yummy Corned Beef & Swiss sandwich or any of your favorites! We’re located at 105 East Arrow Highway (the northeast corner of E Arrow Hwy & Garey Ave) and open weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm & Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm.