An ongoing friendly disagreement between Bradley and I has been whether or not corned beef and cabbage is eaten with mustard or not. During our first year together, Bradley asked me if I like corned beef because he was planning to make some on St. Patrick's Day. I excitedly responded that I thought corned beef and cabbage with spicy mustard was delicious! He and his family informed me that corned beef was not eaten with mustard, and I tried to convince them otherwise. He ended up trying it with mustard, but still felt it was more traditional without.
When we started planning our first year of travel, we knew we wanted to visit Ireland. As we were flying over to the Emerald Isle, we talked about how we would find out whether the Irish ate their corned beef with mustard or not so that we could settle our disagreement.
One of our first nights in Ireland, we went to Johnnie Fox's pub, "the highest pub in Ireland." They had homemade breads, seafood chowder, and "traditional bacon and cabbage." Bacon? Maybe the bacon in this area is similar to corned beef? We decided to give it a try. The bacon served in the dish is more like ham slices with a bit more salt. The meal was delicious and the gravy/sauce it comes with is addicting. But where was the corned beef??
When we got back to our Airbnb, we asked our host's son if corned beef or bacon was more traditional. He said definitely bacon as he'd only tried corned beef a couple of times in his life and had never seen it on a menu. Well, a quick online search helped us find this history about corned beef. Basically what was originally called corned beef in the 1600s changed in the mid-1800s after the Great Famine and immigration of Irish to America. The corned beef currently enjoyed throughout the US is thanks to the Irish immigrants who settled next to Jewish communities and bought their meats from kosher butchers. WHAT? Did you know that corned beef and cabbage was an Irish-American tradition?
Since Ireland doesn't serve corned beef and cabbage, we couldn't find out if it was traditionally served with mustard or not. But the traditional bacon and cabbage we had was not served with mustard. What about you? Do you eat your corned beef with or without mustard? Let us know in the comments!