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Hashing out why corned beef wasn’t on the menu


“I think you and your paper were remiss considering all the Irish folks in Jackson County, because you put out your “Ala Carte” section of the newspaper and NOT one mention of a corned beef and cabbage or other Irish recipes — AND on the day before Saint Patrick’s day! … It was inexcusable to ignore us by not putting Irish recipes in your paper.”

—A concerned Irishman

Dear Concerned,

I read your letter (most of which I’ve reprinted above, verbatim) with deep interest … and not just because I am a fan of run-on sentences.

You might have noticed in the mugshot that accompanies this weekly missive that I am sporting a deep green shirt. In fact, it might be the same shirt that I was wearing a week ago Thursday — although the photo is far older … heck, the photographer who took it now lives in Alabama, for heaven’s sake — when I arrived at work to drive the snakes out of the newsroom.

Just kidding. We haven’t had a snake in the newsroom since 2008 when a critter we dubbed Elvis wormed its way out of the clutches of a former Southern Oregon Journal columnist … and was never seen again.

(Insert your own “Elvis has left the building” joke here.)

Indeed, Concerned, Irish blood — along with Belgian, German, Newfoundlandian and, for a short misguided while, Hungarian — runs through my veins as well, and I, too, am a fan not only of run-on sentences but of corned beef and cabbage.

It is a hearty meal to which I treat myself far too infrequently. A repast, as they say, is good for what ails you.

I used to be a fan of ales, Irish and otherwise, as well … but that, as they say, is a story for another day.

As to the matter at hand, I looked at our A la Carte section of March 16 and discovered that, as you chastised us for, there were no “Irish recipes” to be found.

Then, March 16 — which falls smack-dab in the middle of National Bubble Gum Week — is National Artichoke Hearts Day … and none of the recipes to be found that day included artichoke hearts or bubble gum, not even Sour Green Apple Hubba Bubba.

But it was also the second week of Lent, and so right there in the middle of the front page of A la Carte was a story (with recipes) on how to “Make Your Own Fish Fry At Home” — and, sure and begorra, I know they eat a boatload of fried fish in Ireland … if, for no other reason than I’ve seen the 1996 Irish chipper film “The Van” three times.

So, in the name of National Everything You Do Is Right Day (which also falls on March 16), I’m going to count that fish fry story as an Irish recipe … and if you can’t trust an Irish-Belgian-German-(pseudo)Hungarian-Newfie, who can you trust?

Which leads me to another question, as pointed out by a co-worker upon hearing of your frustration: If you need a recipe for corned beef and cabbage ... how much of an Irishman, concerned or otherwise, are you?

As so happens, during my exhaustive research into this kerfuffle I discovered that the Irish themselves don’t eat a great deal of what we consider a St. Patrick’s staple on the holiday.

Bacon and cabbage is a far more traditional offering, something that migrated to these shores and evolved into what we know as the New England Boiled Dinner and a salted beef meal called Jiggs Dinner — which is customarily served on Sundays on the isle of Newfoundland.

I mean, all in all, considering my scrambled background (another story for another day) I could be the poster child for corned beef and cabbage.

Which brings me to the portion of your letter — which arrived, by the way, with no return address and unsigned … for all we know, you could be a (pseudo) Hungarian Scotsman — where you surmise that perhaps we hold negative attitudes toward the Irish community here in County O’Jackson.

‘Tis only a stepmother would blame you for making that faux pas, dear Concerned. No offense was taken and there’s no need to wash your mouth out with Irish Spring.

Instead, allow me to end this response to your concern by signing off with a sacred Irish blessing:

May the road rise up to meet you,

And may the wind at your back

Not be the result of a lunch

Of corned beef and cabbage.

Mail Tribune columnist Robert Galvin is grateful no one wrote to rgalvin@rosebudmedia.com about the lack of recipes March 23 on National Melba Toast Day.