Growing up, I remember Mom occasionally cooking corned beef and cabbage around St. Paddy’s Day. I saw it for the first time around 8 years old and was confused seeing its color. It looked almost identical to nilaga she’d make with beef ribs, cabbage, potatoes, and the occasional carrot or yam. Mom convinced me it was thoroughly cooked and safe to eat, and from then on I’d indulge and enjoy.
It was only until I got older that I found out that Irish people don’t really eat corned beef, or satisfy other stereotypes that American culture portrays in celebration of St. Patrick. When thinking about “cultural appropriation” in mainstream culture, I often gravitate towards stories of other brown people, but whenever this time of year comes around, I’m dumbfounded seeing how we make caricatures out of Irish heritage.
Instead of green beer and corned beef, epicures can help steer culture in the right direction by paying respect to Patrick (and Ireland) by perhaps, in reflection over a bowl of lamb stew and a pint of red ale.