Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Why: Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day. To honor the Irish, The Ramp had a corned-beef-and-cabbage special.
Answer: Corning is a form of curing. Before refrigerators existed, meat was dry-cured in coarse "corns" of salt. Chunks of salt, the size and shape of corn kernels, were rubbed into the beef to keep it from spoiling and to preserve it.
These days instead of dry salt, salt water is used to "corn" beef (a process called brining).
Maybe one of the reasons we still say "corned beef" instead of "brined beef" is because spices are still added during curing, among them peppercorns.
Source: Mr. Breakfast
The More You Know: I had clam chowder, which felt Irish because it summoned up fond memories of Boston (which has a lot of Irish people).