Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Corned Beef And Cabbage(s)

We had our St. Patrick's Day dinner a day early. It wasn't any sort of Irish rebellion, it just happened that way.

I have tried cooking cabbage in the corned beef water for enough years to realize I just don't like boiled cabbage. It's okay, just not inspiring. So, this year, I went out on one of those other branches of the prolific Brassica family tree and served steamed Brussels sprouts, in effect, mini-cabbages, instead. They certainly adhered to the idea of the wearin' of the green.

In fact, they were perhaps a little too green - pretty, but a little too chewy for our taste. Should have sautéed them in butter to finish them, then they'd have been perfect.

Still for a simple meal, it wasn't half bad.

I think I was about 12 years old when I learned that I am half Irish. My mother came from a prominent New England family, Mayflower material with a President or two thrown in, so as kids we heard a lot about her line. We used to ask Dad about his lineage and he'd always laugh and say, "After they hung all the horse thieves and murderers, we've been a very pure line ever since." I'm not sure if he was embarrassed about his "lace curtain Irish" ancestors or if he really just didn't give a hoot, but it took my Irish grandmother coming to live with us before I learned about my heritage.

I was thrilled. I had fallen in love with Sean Connery while watching "Darby O'Gill and the Little People," so I loved dreaming that I might find a guy like him in my future. Of course, later I learned that he's actually Scottish, but for a few years I had some wonderful fantasies. A few years later, John Kennedy was running for President and once again I was glad of a shared heritage.

One of these days, I want to do what so many Irish Americans have done and visit Ireland. We know the towns from whence issued my four great-grandparents on that side, three in the south and one in Northern Ireland, and I'd like to see them all. One of my great-grandfathers went to Trinity College in Dublin, too, so I'd like to stop in there in his honor.

In the meantime, I enjoy wearing green each St. Patrick's Day and eating Irish-inspired goodies. Corned beef and cabbage(s) is a treat at least once a year.


Blogger Hungry Dog said...

Boiled cabbage is the worst. Brussels sprouts are definitely a better idea. Happy belated St Patty's Day!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

I think you're ready to try corning your own brisket. Next year? Chilebrown will supply you with a little pink salt (though you can do without).

Wednesday, March 21, 2012  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Hungry Dog, thanks and right back ay ya!

Cookie crumb, you have already done that, haven't you? I admit, I'm intrigued.

Thursday, March 22, 2012  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Yes, we have corned our beef successfully for a few years now. Nothing more than a soak in some brine. And you can choose superior meat to begin with, none of that stink load of fat you paid for. I hope you will try! I'll remind you.

Thursday, March 22, 2012  

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