Corned Beef Cabbage Blues

They lied to me!  My whole family lied to me about the corned beef and cabbage!

Here’s the story:  I was sure after I served it last weekend,  that Beto and Elijah liked it as much as I did,  so I saved a bunch for Lucas, eager to let him enjoy the treat when he got back from D.C. from the Jon Stewart Rally for Sanity. (It sure isn’t the 60’s and 70’s any more, my friends, when they can get 250,000 people to show up for a rally on the National Mall that’s not really about anything — but I digress).  I sat a big, heaping bowl of meat, potatoes, turnips, and cabbage down in front of him, feeling extremely proud of my accomplishment and knowing my best eater in the family would just gobble it down with gusto– and then I watched him out of the corner of my eye as he took his first bite. He had a funny look on his face as the fork came down.  He started pushing the stuff in the bowl around like he was searching for something.

“The meat’s on the bottom,”  I said.    “Yeah, I know,” he said, still prodding the cabbage and potatoes with his fork.  “What’s the matter?”  “Uh, nothing.”  “You don’t like it?” “It’s okay.”  “You don’t like it!”  “Well, it’s got a funny after taste.” “It tastes just like corned beef.”  Silence.  “Have you ever eaten corned beef before?”  “No.”

And then the damn broke and out came a flood of confessions that none of them really like corned beef!   Or at least, my corned beef.

After I manage to get out of bed again, I’ll consider hitting the pots and pans for another try :  Swedish Meatballs are up next.  I can’t miss with that one, I hope.  And  at least they were nice about the whole thing — they tried to hide how they really felt — it was me that forced the question, always looking for that next complement in my search for positive feedback in a world gone cold with critics.

Ah, well, another day in the life of the family cook.

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About tamisrenteria

Tamis Renteria, author and anthropologist, writes novels and short stories about people struggling with different religious, spiritual, and cultural traditions. She lives with her husband and youngest son in Tucson, Arizona where she types on a Mac, cooks ethnic food, and gardens among the sahuaros.
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3 Responses to Corned Beef Cabbage Blues

  1. Mercedes says:

    What’s about not getting out of bed all about? And what do they known about what corned beef should taste like? How did you like it is really the only valid judgement since they all can’t tell the truth anyway. And corned beef isn’t exactly high cuisine, it is a bit of an acquired taste. Personally, I only eat it on St. Patrick’s day and only the store bought variety. And it’s probably the green beer that makes it palatable because it sure ain’t the cabbage that keeps me coming back every year.
    Well, how about coming up with some post election themed meal. Like humble pie and ice tea for the Democrats. And how about pulled pork sandwiches and constant comment tea for the Republicans. And we over here in California we can feast on moonbeam pies and marijuana laced brownies now that we got Jerry Brown back in the Governor’s mansion or not.
    In any case don’t let your limited success with saltpetered beef diminish you or extinguish your spirit. Swedish meatballs will restore your reputation.
    And finally, I vote for doing the racllete in the winter. It’s cold weather fare in my mind.

  2. Helen Fisher says:

    One last remark re Corned Beef, which I happen to like. While traveling in Ireland I found this dish is UNHEARD of , strictly a US recipe, one could liken it to trying to order Chop Suey in China. Does not exist in the land that is credited, they never heard of it!

    • That’s very funny, Helen. I had no idea. And here I was imagining those poor Irish women having to borrow saltpeter from their men in order to make this delectable dish. I like it too, by the way, or did I say that already?

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