Monday, February 23, 2009

Early Irish

I'm half Irish, although I didn't learn that until I was well into my teens. Because our mother was descended from folks who arrived on the Juneflower (perhaps not quite as early as those on the Mayflower but soon after), growing up we always heard a lot about her family tree. When we'd ask Dad about his ancestors, he'd just grin and say, "After they hung all the horse thieves and murderers, we've been a very pure line since then."

It was only when my Dad's mother, a wonderful little lady who told me stories of riding a camel to the Pyramids and following her husband's fleet clear around the world, came to live with us that I learned that we were Irish.

I was a convert and converts are the fiercest believers. I went through a phase where most of my foods were prepared from Irish cookbooks and I was defiantly proud of the peasant half of my heritage. I've calmed down a bit since then but I still love watching movies about Ireland (or at least Hollywood's vision of Ireland) and I still enjoy the occasional dinner of corned beef, cabbage and potatoes.

Having tried several times to cook the cabbage in the corned beef water and ended up with a soggy mess, I have lately gone to lightly sauteeing the shredded cabbage in bacon fat, then laying it alongside my corned beef. The spuds were simply cut into spears and roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper until tender. It may not be an authentically Irish preparation but it satisfies both the finicky WASP and the earthy peasant in me.

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Blogger dancingmorganmouse said...

I suspect the original was pork (salt), potatoes and cabbage. That's how we do it in this house.

Monday, February 23, 2009  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Of course, you will be remaking this menu in a few weeks. Of course.

Monday, February 23, 2009  
Blogger namastenancy said...

I love my peasant heritage and since I come from a really mixed background, I've got a lot of food to chose from. I love your Dad's answer about the horse thieves, etc. My Dad used to say the same thing about the Lebanese part of the family - camel thieves and rug peddlers! I've served corned beef and cabbage with a side of coucous and nobody complained. Yumm! Beruit-Belfast cuisine anybody?

Monday, February 23, 2009  
Blogger Nerissa said...

I'm fond of some good Irish dishes. This looks quite lovely. I don't think I've ever had corned beef. Isn't that odd.
I'm fond of a bit of cabbage and bacon, m'self. I love to make colcannon with a bit of the left over ham.

Monday, February 23, 2009  
Blogger Chilebrown said...

I am half Irish too sortof. At least on
St. Pattys day I become full Irish just like everybody else. I do love the corned beef and have been full of blarney at times.
My favorite way to cook a corned beef brisket is to put it into a smoker.It turns into a delicous faux pastrami. Oh man that is some good stuff!

Monday, February 23, 2009  
Blogger Anna Haight said...

If eating this a dish a lot growing up makes you Irish, then I am. Never found proof of it in the family lineage though.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Morgan, you're probably right - beef too dear for the peasants (unless they poached it...)

Cookiecrumb, yup!

Nancy, why the heck not! We peasants have to stick together.

Nerissa, colcannon - have heard the name but never tried it - you have given me an idea!

Chilebrown, we are all Irish on St. Patty's Day, aren't we? Your smoked beef sounds marvelous! You giving the party this year?

Anna, if you enjoy being Irish, you are. Welcome.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009  
Blogger dancingmorganmouse said...

Poaching beef and goodness knows what else is how 1/2 my ancestors got here!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009  

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