As most folks know, St. Patricks Day is celebrated today. (This date marks the death of Ireland's patron saint.)
Tonight, we'll be enjoying a "traditional" dinner at home with friends — all prepared by Chef Grenville.
He's the Irish half or this relationship, whereas I am the Italian counterpart.
But, the meal he's preparing today — corned beef and cabbage — is no more Irish than spaghetti and meatballs is Italian. This "classic" Irish fare is as American as apple pie.
Irish immigrants brought food traditions including soda bread and Irish stew to the U.S. Pork was inexpensive in their homeland and was the preferred meat with Irish bacon, a lean pork loin being the favorite. However, pork was costly for New York Irish families.
Irish workers, who frequented NYC Jewish delis and lunch carts, tasted corned beef. It was cured and cooked similar to Irish bacon and a cheaper alternative to pork. Potatoes were readily available, but cabbage was cheaper and when cooked with the spicy and salty corned beef, became very favorable This simple, hearty dish soon became a staple of NY Irish families as it was affordable and easy to prepare.
As we enjoy this meal tonight, these are our wishes for you and yours . . .
May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live.
And . . .
May the road rise to meet you; May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face; and rains fall soft upon your field
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.
Grenville, Beatrice & Percy (the temporary Irish) Penguin