I love food! I mean, who doesn’t? Sweet food, spicy food, Mexican food, Chinese food, the list could go on forever. We all have our own preference or favorite dish. My favorite is corned beef and cabbage. Being of Irish American descent, this dish was tradition in my house on St. Patrick’s Day. Just mentioning corned beef and cabbage brings me back to my childhood, watching my mother prepare it and waiting to taste the salty meat that as a child I called the “stringy meat.”
Every year my mother would prepare the dish and everyone would sit down and enjoy it together. By everyone I mean my parents, my four brothers, four sisters and myself. As my mother was preparing the meat and peeling and cutting the vegetables, the rest of us would help her out by cleaning up and setting the table. When everything was boiled to perfection it was time for us to all sit together, share stories, laugh and enjoy a delicious meal. Seeing as we didn’t always get to indulge in a sit down dinner all together, with everyone usually off and running either at work, school or some other activity, this made the meal an even more enjoyable experience. Thinking back now, that must have been a lot of corned beef to feed our big family. Although the beef was the main component of the dish, our meal also consisted of cabbage, potatoes, onions and carrots, all put together and boiled into one fragrant,
delightful pot of deliciousness. Now don’t get me wrong, as a child I wasn’t always fond of the vegetables that came with the meal, but that delicious, tender meat would always make me wait with anticipation.
In North America corned beef dishes are associated with traditional Irish cuisine. However, there is considerable debate about the association of corned beef with Ireland. (Kurlansky, 124) Some say the reason why people eat it in the U.S. is that many of the Irish who emigrated here did so during the 1840's, and were very poor. Among the poor Irish at this time, the big festive meal you ate on holidays was ham or bacon with cabbage, and when they came to this country, they either couldn't find exactly the right kind of bacon or couldn't afford it. Corned beef was the closest thing they could find, so they had that instead. Although the exact beginnings of corned beef are unknown, it’s said to have come about when people began preserving meat through salt-curing in Keighley, West Yorkshire....