A Reuben and a Corned Beef Special. Just like I made last year, except last year I actually made them on St Patrick’s Day.

I was much more eloquent last year, with a bit of history about the sandwiches and the like. In fact, since I was about to say pretty much the same thing, again, I’ll just copy last year’s post and be done with it!

Ah…  St Paddy’s Day…  A truly Irish-American holiday.  And my grandfather’s birthday!  He was born March 17, 1896.  Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

The Irish never celebrated St Paddy’s Day as we do here – and they most certainly didn’t eat Corned Beef and Cabbage!  They still don’t.  You’ll now find it in tourist restaurants, but it has never been an Irish staple.  Corned beef has been produced in Ireland for hundreds of years – but it wasn’t for the Irish.  it was all owned and exported by the British.  The cattle industry actually played a huge role in the potato famine.  The best land was owned by the English and used for grazing.  The people were forced onto marginal lands where not much would or could grow.  The potato became the sole crop and food – and when it failed…  well… we know the history…

Big parades and celebrations for St Patrick are a relatively new thing in Ireland, as well.  So many people would come to Ireland expecting a huge celebration that they finally gave in and started having one.

And that brings us back to Corned Beef and Cabbage.

The closest Irish dish would be bacon and cabbage – not the same bacon we have with our eggs in the morning – but in America, corned beef was a lot less expensive.  It was more than likely introduced by Jewish butchers, since the Irish and the Jews shared a lot of ghettos in those early years.  We have a long history of not being very nice to immigrants.

But fast-forward many years and the concept of Corned Beef and Cabbage on St Patrick’s Day is firmly entrenched in our culture.  It’s everywhere.

Except our house.

Victor really doesn’t like cooked cabbage.  I’ve made it and he’s eaten it, but it really was more back in those early days of the relationship when people will just do anything for the other.  Closing in on 18 years later, we’re a little more open and direct.

So what does one do on St Patrick’s Day?!?  Make Reuben’s and Corned Beef Specials!

Victor won’t touch a  Reuben, either.  Sauerkraut?!?  He’d rather put pins in his eyes.  And a Corned Beef Special is lost on me.  Cole slaw on a corned beef sandwich sandwich?!?  Meh.

So we ended up with vastly different sandwiches that were both comprised of the same four main ingredients: rye bread, Russian dressing, cabbage, and corned beef.  To his I added the aforementioned cole slaw.  Raw cabbage is not an issue.  For mine, I added swiss cheese and sauerkraut – and then grilled it to a crusty-crunchy golden-brown.

The Corned Beef Special has its roots in Philadelphia.  It’s an east coast  thing.  The reuben, on the other hand, probably traces its roots to the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha.  A defunct deli in New York also claimed ownership, but my father was from Omaha.  I’m going with the family connection.

Dinner was fun.  Both of us were in gastronomic heaven with our favorites.

A great – if slightly non-traditional – St Paddy’s Day, indeed!