Bacon and cabbage
Dish of the day virtually every day in times past.
Bacon and cabbage is a dish traditionally associated with most country areas of Ireland. The dish consists of unsliced back bacon boiled with cabbage and potatoes. Sometimes other vegetables such as turnips, onions and carrots are also added. Smoked bacon is sometimes used. Historically, this dish was common fare in Irish homes as the ingredients were readily available as many families grew their own vegetables and reared their own pigs. It was considered nourishing and satisfying. It was almost the “everyday dinner” in many farmhouses of the 1950s and 1960s except on friday when fish or fried eggs were the menu. The dish continues to be most popular to this day.
The dish is served with the bacon sliced, and with some of the boiling juices added. The bacon used for the meal can vary somewhat depending on individual preference. Usually back bacon is used for the recipe, but other cuts of bacon are sometimes preferred. However, the bacon used is almost always cured. The traditional curing is a long process which involves storing the bacon in salt, however, in modern times, mass-produced bacon is cured using brine which is less frequently injected into the meat to speed-up the process. The bacon can also be smoked which adds a depth of flavour which many people prefer. In Ireland, one can also purchase what is known as home-cured bacon which is bacon cured over a long period and then stored for another long spell, wrapped in paper. This makes the bacon very salty, hard in texture and yellowish in colour.