March is here and that means that St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner! Have you ever wondered about the history behind your favorite traditional St. Paddy’s Day cuisine? You may be surprised with what you find out!
Corned Beef and Cabbage
One of the most popular St. Patrick’s Day dishes is corned beef and cabbage. You will see restaurants all around offering corned beef sandwiches, as well as people cooking the dish themselves. The crazy thing: this dish doesn’t trace back to Ireland. Instead, poor Irish immigrants came up with this pairing when they came to the United States. Traditionally, the Irish would eat boiled bacon on St. Patrick’s Day, but it was too expensive for the poor settlers. Beef brisket was the cheapest meat available, and they decided to brine the meat instead of boiling it. The beef was paired with one of the cheapest vegetables they could find, cabbage, and a new tradition was created.
This beer is a product of Ireland, but the inspiration for it came from Great Britain. Visionary Arthur Guinness started the brewing company in 1759. He negotiated an outrageous 9,000-year lease contract for an unused brewery in Dublin. That location, St. James Brewery, is still active and is a must see tourist attraction for beer lovers and history buffs alike. Guinness made it to England 10 years after it’s inception, and over 70 years to make it to the United States. Today in the U.S. the beer is enjoyed year round, but has become synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day. Be sure to grab a pint on the 17th!
This Irish dish traditionally consists of mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage. Here in the United States, it is a traditional St. Patrick’s dish, however in Ireland it is a Halloween tradition. The Irish would use charms hidden in the dish for the purposes of marriage prediction. Other times colcannon was served with a ring and a thimble concealed within. Prizes of small coins like threepenny and sixpenny bits were hidden in the dish.