Monday, March 19, 2012

Corned beef explained

Remember that Drunken Corned Beef I made two weeks ago? I'm still salivating over it and can't wait to make it again. Even though St. Patrick's Day is recently behind us, I thought I'd throw in a little history about the pickled meat.

Green-clad revelers this past weekend might think that corned beef is a traditional Irish dish. Not so! And  culinary genius Alton Brown delves into the meat's history in the Irish-American community here at the 3:25 mark.

A few years ago I interviewed food historian and author Joan Nathan, who explained to me that there really is no such thing as "Jewish cuisine."

“It’s the dietary laws that make Jewish cooking what it is,” the author of “Jewish Cooking in America” told me. “And even if people don’t follow the dietary laws, they understand what they are. That’s the essential core of Jewish cooking through the ages. Dishes are geographical."

In another interview, food historian and author Rabbi Gil Marks elaborated.

“The Jews’ role in culinary history is not in innovation,” he told me, “but in transportation and transmission.”

In this case, Jewish immigrants brought pickled meats with them from Eastern Europe to the Lower East Side of New York. Then, a wave of Irish immigrants moved into the neighborhood and began adopting the popular foods of the community. And thus a tradition began.

I am a bit curious, though, as to why Alton's rabbi has sideburns like Elvis.

Stay tuned, folks! Coming up next is my fantastic recipe for sausage and broccoli rabe, which was a huge hit this past Shabbat.

1 comment:

  1. It's a big deal for us Irish Americans because it's what we lived off of after the Brits attempted to starve us to death. St. Patrick's Day is about us surviving in spite of the Brits, in spite of signs posted all over the place saying "Irish Need Not Apply". Potatoes came from South America, should we consider that part of our meal "not Irish culture" for that reason as well? Where our food originated from didn't matter. It shouldn't matter, either. We were, and are, just glad we weren't starved to death and thank G-d for the food and our lives. I would think lots of people reading this would be able to appreciate that, if not resonate with it.