Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St P's Day - Corned Beef and Cabbage

The first time I had Corned beef and cabbage, I was 18 and a senior in high school. I was playing tenor sax for our high school jazz band. To make a little money to help the band program, our director would hire us out of perform "gigs". On St Patrick's day we went to the local Masonic Hall to perform for the Mason's annual corned beef dinner. After performing for an hour or so, it was our chance to sit down and enjoy a meal: Corned Beef and Cabbage. What I knew to be corned beef to be at the time was corned beef hash. I was surprised when I was served beef brisket. What is so "corn" about this beef I asked. The only responds that I got was that it is salted beef.

I loved that meal. Everything about it was right. I was playing music for money, served good food, and was in the company of "wise old men" who viewed us with respect; for a change. Ok maybe not respect, but we were playing the type of music they enjoyed, and they very much enjoyed it. From that day on I have made Corned Beef and Cabbage every year at or around St Patrick's day.

Corned Beef is beef brisket cured in a brine (salt water) solution. Potassium nitrate is added to preserve the beefs pink color. So why is it called CORN?? The word corn is also defined as a hard particle or grains. Such as a grain of sand or SALT. So corn refers to the course type salt used to cure the beef, and not the yellow ears of corn used in everything else. Wouldn't it have been less confusing if they just called is Salted Beef? But I guess then I would not have been able to write this little article. Happy Saint Paddy's Day!

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