winchester restaurants

Let’s Talk Corned Beef (and Cabbage)

It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day! And we all know what that means: corned beef and cabbage. If you’re searching for Winchester restaurants to get your corned beef and cabbage fix this year, your search is over. Come to Swanton Street Diner! Last year our customers loved our corned beef and cabbage.

But how much do you know about the traditional St. Patrick’s Day dinner? The meal has an interesting history and is not quite as Irish as you might think. Let’s dig into the origins of corned beef and cabbage before we dig in to our corned beef and cabbage.


Immigrant’s Food

We associate corned beef and cabbage with St. Patrick’s Day because Irish immigrants ate it, not because it comes from Ireland. Corned beef was an affordable cut of meat that the Irish adopted from their Jewish neighbors. Beef was an uncommon meat in Ireland because cows were valued as work animals and a source of dairy products. They were only killed for meat when they were too old or weak. A more common and affordable meat was pork, and Irish immigrants were looking for cheap meat that reminded them of “Irish bacon.” Enter corned beef.

Eastern European Jewish immigrants to the United States preserved beef brisket in salt. The large lumps of rock salt resembled corn kernels, giving corned beef its name. No actual corn involved. Irish immigrants paired cabbage with corned beef because it was the cheapest vegetable they could get.


Changing Celebrations

While St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration of Irish history and heritage, it was a religious festival in Ireland. Until 1970, the law required pubs to close on March 17. When Irish immigrants came to the United States in the 19th century, they were looking for a way to remember and celebrate their home. This started the St. Patrick’s Day traditions that we have today. Corned beef was an affordable splurge for the poor immigrants, and could be cooked easily in one pot with cabbage. Being convenient and affordable turned this meal into an Irish-American staple.

Celebrate St. Paddy’s Day at Winchester Restaurants

Whether you love corned beef and cabbage or you only have it once a year because it’s tradition, you’ll be looking for it this St. Paddy’s Day. You can stop your search of Winchester restaurants and come to Swanton Street Diner.


Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with us at 72 Swanton St, in Winchester, MA!