The Reason We Eat Corned Beef & Cabbage On St. Patrick's Day

Did you know St. Patrick's Day is actually celebrated all over the word? Here in America, on March 17, you'll probably see lots of people getting festive with "Kiss Me I'm Irish" pins, mugs full of frothy green beer, layers upon layers of green clothes, lots of yummy Irish eats. But one St. Patrick's Day menu staple is actually not very Irish at all, corned beef and cabbage. So why do we eat corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day?

In Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is not a day to indulge in green beer but a religious holiday where you share boiled bacon with your family, according to the History Channel. So when the first wave of Irish immigrants made their way to the United States, they were searching for recipes similar to their native comfort foods. In Ireland, pork products were relativity inexpensive and perfect to feed an entire family, but immigrants to America quickly learned that bacon or any pork products were more expensive in their new homeland. So to save money, they turned to the cheapest cut of meat at the time — beef brisket.

Since New York City was the melting pot for immigrants from around the world, Delish noted that Irish immigrants quickly began picking up cooking methods from other cultures. When Irish immigrants began frequenting Jewish delis and lunch carts they found that corned beef tasted similar to their beloved boiled bacon and was easy on the wallets for struggling Irish families.

So that settles where the corned beef came from, but what about the cabbage? It turns out, according to the Smithsonian, cabbage was added to the dish because it was one of the cheapest vegetables available and could be cooked in the same pot as the meat and would pick up the same salty, delicious flavor.

The traditional corned beef and cabbage recipe have even been updated into delicious meals like corned beef and cabbage wraps or how about an appetizer like a corned beef spring roll.

While it's not the Irish delicacy that we once thought, we can't deny that corned beef and cabbage is still delicious and a perfect dinner for St. Patrick's Day.