John Larrysson's Kitchen: Corned beef

There is no corn in corned beef. Corned beef was a salted meat from back in the days before refrigeration. Meat had to be preserved (kept from rotting) with salt. The round pieces of salt left grain-sized marks on the side of the beef. The name, corned beef, came from those marks.

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New England boiled dinner was once one of the dishes traditionally made with corned beef. It was mostly, potatoes, carrots and onions. However it was cooked in water flavoured with a large piece of corned beef. In the last few minutes of cooking, slices of cabbage were added. It is very good with a dark rye bread. Corned beef hash is basically a fried version of New England boiled dinner.

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Chipped beef is another type of salted beef. While corned beef was common in England during the world wars, chipped beef was found in America. In the US military chipped beef was often used to flavour a white sauce and eaten on toast. It was called Stuff On a Shingle (SOS) and other colourful (unprintable in a family newspaper) variations. While it used to be a low cost food, today it is a traditional part of the American military.

Today corned beef and chipped beef are oddities (unusual things) that can be as expensive as fresh refrigerated meat.

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by John Larrysson

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A native English speaker who has been teaching practical English in Hong Kong for over two decades.


NOTE:Starting in 2016, this column has been published once every two weeks, on every other Tuesday.

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