St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner--which means, for millions across the country, corned beef and cabbage is on the menu for dinner.
It's the quintessential Irish meal--or is it? In today's blog, we will be exploring the roots of this delicious, time-honored culinary mainstay. Take a look!
From precious to profitable
For how ubiquitous corned beef is as an "Irish" meal, many may suspect that beef has long been the country's most popular meat--but that simply goes against tradition!
In the earliest years of Ireland, the cow was actually seen as a precious, respected animal. While it was used for agricultural work--in addition to its milk--it was usually not consumed for meat except in special circumstances.
This changed, of course, as Ireland's next-door neighbor--England--grew and needed more land to sustain its taste for beef. They used Irish cows for these purposes, and when new 17th century laws prohibited live cattle from being sent to England, Ireland itself got into the industry.
However, the majority of Irish people could not actually afford the beef their country produced. They instead stuck to the early Irish staple of pork--bacon, specifically, the kind more closely associated with Canada or England than the crispy, stripped American style.
A transatlantic change
When Irish people emigrated, en masse, to the United States, they were able to afford meats that--at home--were considered to be delicacies. They developed a taste for the salt-cured beef produced by Jewish butchers in cities like New York, and adopted it as one of their chief dishes of choice. That's why corned beef became a sort of symbol of the Irish people in America--and why we'd be right to call it an Irish American favorite, but perhaps not a strictly Irish one.
Today, corned beef can be found on many an American family dinner table come St. Patrick's Day--but that's not the only time to enjoy it! You can even have a taste of it here at Peach Valley, on a delicious Corned Beef Reuben, the classic sandwich served on rye.
Whether corned beef is a true Irish treat or an Americanized version of one, we know one thing--it's our favorite way to celebrate the season!
At Peach Valley, we're passionate about serving fresh, home style meals you and your family will love. Experience the freshness today! Find a Location near you and be sure to Sign Up for our E-Club for news, updates and special offers.