The History and Irish Tradition of Corned Beef There are few things better than simmering corned beef with carrots, onions, potatoes and spices. According to the US department of Agriculture Originally "Corned Beef and Cabbage" was a traditional dish served for Easter Sunday dinner in rural Ireland. The beef, because there was no refrigeration at that time was salted or brined during the winter to preserve it, It was then eaten after the long, meatless Lenten fast. However other Irish people feel that Corned Beef and cabbage is about as Irish as Spaghetti and meatballs. That beef was a real delicacy usually served only to the kings. According to Bridgett Haggerty of the website Irish Cultres and Customs she says that their research shows that most likely a "bacon joint" or a piece of salted pork boiled with cabbage and potatoes would more likely have shown up for an Easter Sunday feast in the rural parts of Ireland. Since the advent of refrigeration, the trend in Ireland is to eat fresh meats. Today this peasant dish is more popular in the United States than in Ireland. Irish-Americans and lots of other people eat it on St. Patrick's Day, Ireland's principal feast day, as a nostalgic reminder of their Irish heritage. Corning is a form of curing; it has nothing to do with corn. The name comes from Anglo-Saxon times before refrigeration. In those days, the meat was dry-cured in coarse "corns" of salt. Pellets of salt, some the size of kernels of corn, were rubbed into the beef to keep it from spoiling and to preserve it. Today brining -- the use of salt water -- has replaced the dry salt cure, but the name "corned beef" is still used, rather than "brined" or "pickled" beef. Commonly used spices that give corned beef its distinctive flavor are peppercorns and bay leaf. Of course, these spices may vary regionally.