I am a proud Irish-American. Sort of…
I am actually a mongrel… part French-canadian, part English and part Irish. My paternal grandmother was a 4’9″ Irish spitfire who I adored. My paternal grandfather was an Englishman who came to the US on the SS Franconia in 1911, at the age of 5. My maternal grandparents came to the US from Quebec, Canada.
But our Irish identity was most prevalent in my household. I attended St Patrick School, in Lawrence, MA, and attended St Patrick Church. My family members were prominent in the AOH in Lawrence. And we marched in the St Patrick’s Day parade as boy scouts or choir members… and in later years attended religiously.
My grandmother made a huge boiled dinner every March 17th. We had dinner… and then had leftovers for a couple of days thereafter. She always cooked a picnic ham (smoked shoulder). With potatoes. And cabbage. And boiling onions. And carrots. Lots and lots of carrots! (My favorite vegetable, especially when cooked in a boiled dinner)
As I got older, I diverge from the family tradition of making a smoked shoulder and started using corned beef. I mean, “corned beef and cabbage” was the traditional Irish meal on St Patrick’s Day, right… not “smoked shoulder and cabbage”.
On occasion, I still cook a smoked shoulder, but I LOVE a good corned beef… so for the most part I now cook corned beef.
Except, ‘corned beef and cabbage’ is not Irish. It’s Irish-American!
Not that it matters. But I was raised believing it was an Irish tradition, and it is not… read here for the origins of the Irish-American tradition of eating corned beef and cabbage on St Patty’s Day.