Corned Beef and Cabbage and Controversy
Your so called, typical St. Patrick’s Day meal might not even be Irish. Probably more American than anything else.
First thing’s first: there’s no corn involved. Secondly, it may not even be Irish! The traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal of corned beef and cabbage may be closer to the hearts of Irish-Americans than the country they are celebrating.
The theory goes that corned beef and cabbage became a popular lunchtime meal in New York City bars in the early 20th century. A letter republished in Salon explains, “It was a cheap meat, much cheaper than fresh pork, and cabbage was a cheap vegetable. The bars offered a ‘free lunch’ to the Irish construction workers who were building NYC.”
Of course, nothing is free. The letter goes on, “You had to buy a couple beers or shots of whiskey (or both, if you wanted) to get that free lunch. And that’s how corned beef became known as an ‘Irish’ food.’”