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Why It’s Called “Corned” Beef

Serving up corned beef and cabbage at Frontier Middle School (Dale Mussen photo)

Corned beef and cabbage is associated with Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day as much as shamrocks, leprechauns, potatoes and the color green.  But why is it called “corned” beef?  It all has to do with the way it was prepared as far back as the 1600′s.

Diane Wind (far left) and the cafeteria staff at Frontier Middle School (Dale Mussen photo)

“Corned” is the process of preserving meat by putting it in a large container and covering it with rock salt.  The kernels of salt were known as “corns of salt”.  The Irish were the biggest exporters of canned corned beef all over the world thru the early 1800′s.  It was the main export of Cork, Ireland.  It was served to British soldiers during the Napoleonic wars.

There are all kinds of recipes for preparing it these days.  Mostly it’s served with cabbage, carrots and potatoes and one of the best places for it is Frontier Middle School.  Unfortunately you have to receive an invitation to try it.  Each year Diane Wind and her kitchen staff in the Frontier Middle School cafeteria whip up corned beef and cabbage as a treat for the teachers and staff.  And they always extend an invitation to Clay and me.  It’s hard to pass up.

So our thanks to everyone at Frontier Middle School for always treating us like royalty – Irish royalty.  (Is there such a thing?)

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