Food & Drink

Corned Beef: Where It Came From and Where to Get It in Scotch Plains-Fanwood

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Corned Beef on Rye at the Fanwood Grille.
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SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- One of the most common misconceptions about St. Patrick's Day is that the Irish eat corned beef and cabbage. In actuality, it did not originate as an Irish dish.

The meal gained in popularity during the mid-to-late1800s, a time that saw an influx of Irish immigrants land on America's shorts. Since they were poor and could not afford to eat meat very often, they bought the least expensive cut of meat – brisket – which they would soak in a brine to make tender, and the least expensive vegetable: cabbage. 
 
The term “corned" describe the size of the salt crystals -- the size of corn kernels -- used to cure the meat. According to Smithsonian magazine, Irish immigrants usually bought their meat from kosher butchers who are part of New York City's growing Jewish population in the late 1800s. Corned beef comes from brisket, a tougher cut of meat. By using salt and cooking the meat for hours, it became more tender and flavorful.
 

Regardless of its origin, many places in the area will serve corned beef and cabbage and corned beef on rye this weekend, including:

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