17 March 2013

Boiled dinner, anyone? New England style...

On Saint Paddy's Day, it's tough not to be a wee bit "Irish".. though I'm not quite sure where the 'New England' fits into 'Boiled Dinner'.  Salted beef or  corned beef, carrots, potatoes, and cabbage might have been 'cold' stored in ground cellars through the winter months and pulled out for a 'hearty' meal this time of year... I would guess the 'Irish' boiled dinner is a staple as winter wanes, the hills begin to turn emerald green, the mists lift, skies clear, and the sun comes out.

In our house when I was  a kid, New England style boiled dinner was a kind of staple, too, and not necessarily reserved for St.Paddy's day. Back then, it was an inexpensive meal and could be cooked all in one pot over the course of some hours...

By virtue of our heritage, we are not Irish.  My dad was a staunch Scot, so when it came to St. Patrick's Day, he would recognize the day by wearing orange instead of green. He had an orange tie for the occasion, too. I suppose it set him apart from others in his office. 

My sis and I were having a conversation last weekend... and she wanted to know what 'holiday' was coming up that everyone wanted to have a 'boiled dinner'... and I remarked ... Saint Patrick's' Day!

Then my sis commented she disliked mushy veggies...Frankly, I'm not a fan of 'mushy' veggies either. I'd prefer to 'mush' them myself... I can remember Mum's boiled dinner usually acquired mushy veggies in the process of the 'all in one pot' cooking method.

When I thought about doing this post... I thought of my sis and her 'mushy veggies comment'. Hey, sis? My veggies are not mushy! And everything was cooked in the same pot! It was delish too! The corned beef was not overly salty either...

So, it is Saint Patrick's Day... celebrations abound... Green beer (please consume responsibly), and eat some 'boiled' dinner, too! It's a hearty filling meal that takes the edge off the dreary cold late winter weather... and, spring is just round the corner.


  1. When the first person cooked a boiled dinner his intention was to de-salinize the saltiness of the corned beef. The term "corned" referred to the size of the salt nuggets used to cure the beef because of its perishable nature. The vegetables used were, as you said, what was handy. A carrot, onion and potato would keep for a few months in a cool dry place and a cabbage likes to grow in cool temperatures. So those vegetables would be available at any time to add to the pot with the salted beef.
    I am positive that at no time did the first cook ever add his precious vegetables any time before the meat was properly de-salted.
    That first cook was certainly aware of what result a pot of hot water would do to a vegetable. I think this small bit of information was totally lost on JoAnn.

    1. Thank you for the interesting tidbit of info ... I didn't know that! As for the JoAnn part? Well, you're probably right about that!


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