Cultural Differences

Corned Beef is virtually unknown in Germany, at least boiled with potatoes and cabbage in the proper Irish way. Corned Beef in Germany is generally understood to be something in a tin – bits of meat and fat and gelatin. Some people cut it into slices and eat it on bread. Others – like me – avoid it as the devil avoids holy water; or a vampire garlic; or a cat water. Unless it is a Turkish Van cat, they like to swim. Maybe they would even eat Corned Beef out of a tin. I wouldn’t. I also do not like to swim.

Anyway, every time I heard about Corned Beef & Cabbage in the US, I had a vision of this … stuff … out of a tin being cooked up. Not a very appetizing thought. On the other hand one does try to stay polite and tries to refrain from bursting out in a loud “but that is so, so, so utterly disgusting.”

Had I only burst out earlier. It took nearly a year for this misunderstanding to clear up, simply because nobody knew that I didn’t know. Then finally I learned that Corned Beef sans tin can be quite a lovely dish, when prepared properly, and is the perfect food for St. Patrick’s Day. Voila:

corned-beef.jpg

And the leftovers are just great on a sandwich.

2 Replies to “Cultural Differences”

  1. I don’t even like to get wet, much less swim. I don’t like either kind of corned beef. That’s probably blasphemy for someone with as much Irish heritage as I have. Cabbage, I love. A few tips I learned from my Ukrainian cousin (Ukrainians are the world’s most avid cabbage consumers, apparently) and just on my own. Before cooking cabbage, take it out of the refrigerator and let it warm to room temp. Or better yet, bring it home from the store, leave it out a few hours to get to room temp, then cook it without refrigerating. For some reason, this brings out the sweetness in cabbage like nothing else. Ukrainians also believe cabbage should be cooked uncovered to let toxic “gases” escape. I steam it covered. I haven’t exploded – yet. Ukrainians also add a dash of nutmeg to cabbage for flavor. I’ve done it, and it’s nice. Caraway seed in cabbage is also flavorful.

    I didn’t even wear green yesterday. Some Irishman, huh?

  2. I like cabbage because it is so versatile. Whether cooked or eaten raw, the result is always satisfying. Plus there are so many varieties, all colors, all tastes, to suit every dish one wants to transform the cabbage into.

    Cabbage in all its forms is seriously underrated – like so many good and simple things in life.

    P.S.: I’ll try the nutmeg – it sounds delicious.

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