What To Cook On St. Patrick’s Day?

corn beef and cabbage

What do we cook on this day? There are many traditional foods to make on St. Patrick’s Day. When this holiday would come around, my mother would prepare a big meal and talk about my grandmother and her upbringing. Yes, my grandmother Carmen Brady, who I was named after, was Irish. She migrated to the U.S. Virgin Islands and that is where she made her home and raised her children. Ok, enough about me, let’s get to the traditional foods made on St. Patrick’s Day.

The tradition St. Patrick’s Day foods that my family became accustomed to, while growing up in Queens were corn beef, potatoes and cabbage. My mom would throw in, guess what? Irish Soda Bread, now this bread was devoured as soon as it came out of the oven. When the bread was sliced it was then smothered in butter, YES! The way my mother made this meal was pretty simple and quick. The corn beef would be boiled until tender. No salt was necessary, as it was cured. It was boiled with mirepoix (onions, carrots and celery). The cabbage would simmer until reduced in size. While the carrots became tender. The potatoes were boiled separately. I don’t understand why my mother didn’t just throw all of these foods in one pot, this would have been more simple! Once your mom is accustomed to making things her way, I would advise you to stay quiet and out of her way! She will always be right!

So, where does our corned beef come from? Corned Beef is part of the beef that is tough and is the lower chest area of the cattle, the brisket. This particular inexpensive cut (the brisket) is very tough and boiling the beef softens the tissues to make it tender. One might say it does not originate from the Irish, but, it is a traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal that my family grew accustomed to over the years and is shared by many different ethnic groups on this day.

Having all of these different foods boil in the kitchen gave our home an aroma that is hard to forget and also a warm feeling from all the steam building in our kitchen and fogging our windows. Lol. Those are memories to last a lifetime!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Aunt Carmen

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