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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Salted Pork On St. Patrick Day!?

Today many families will engage in the frivolity of St. Patrick’s Day—wearing green, attending parades, and of course, eating corned beef and cabbage. But why is this dish the generally accepted fare of St. Patty’s Day?

Well, it’s not because the dish is an Irish tradition. Corned beef is rarely eaten in Ireland (except perhaps on Easter). In Ireland, salted pork is much more common than corned beef; indeed, when Irish immigrants came to the U.S., they used beef as a substitute for the bacon they would normally salt. Over time corned beef became a staple of the Irish community in America and became associated with Irish heritage. For this reason it is served on St. Patrick’s Day—at least in the U.S. Don’t count on seeing many locals eating corned beef in Ireland.

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