In case you are not Irish or have your head in the sand, tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day. For those looking to satisfy their holiday hankering for corned beef and cabbage, the traditional American way to celebrate the day in an epicurean way, there are numerous places to find it.
According to a history of the meal in Smithsonian magazine, the “corn” in traditional corned beef is actually salt. The Irish were not traditionally big beef eaters, but became so after the British conquered much of the country’s land in the 12th century. When the English put limits on their beef imports in the 17th century, the Irish beef market was flooded. Beef preserved with salt crystals, the size of corn kernels, or “corned” beef, became a main Irish export to Europe and the Americas.
Americans began producing their own corned beef in the 18th century, and the demand for exports declined. By the time of the Irish potato famine in the mid-19th century, the country was no longer producing beef and was relying almost entirely on the potato for sustenance. The immigrants who came from Ireland to avoid starvation began eating beef again in America. Their corned beef was the product of the kosher butchers in their crowded urban neighborhoods, and it was stewed with potatoes and cabbage, becoming the meal we know today.
Here on the South Fork, the Smokin’ Wolf takeout shop in East Hampton will offer a corned beef and cabbage dinner special tomorrow for $17. It will be served with carrots and Irish soda bread. The shop is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Rowdy Hall in East Hampton will serve a special menu tomorrow, and offer drink specials all day, as mentioned in last week’s “News for Foodies” column.
Other opportunities on the South Fork to get your corned beef on are at the Old Whalers Church, where the Sag Harbor Lions Club will offer the meal with traditional music this evening from 5 to 8. The cost is $25 and $15 for the kids.
On Saturday, the Springs Presbyterian Church will serve corned beef, cabbage, Irish soda bread, and dessert for dining at the church or takeout from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The complete meals are $22.
And, for those who want to try it at home, Tyler Hannibal, the chef at Indian Wells Tavern in Amagansett — whose bona fides, coming from an Irish American family of chefs, are impeccable — has shared his take on the dish.