This article originally appeared in the Yiddish Forverts.
I’ve been pondering corned beef this week as St. Patrick’s Day approaches, wondering how two groups — Irish Americans and Ashkenazi Jews — who seemingly have so little cultural crossover could seamlessly come together over a dish comprised of stewed meat, cabbage, carrots, dill and mustard.
Prep time for this St. Patrick’s Day classic is no more than 5 minutes. All you have to do is peel some carrots, slice a cabbage into large pieces and put everything into the pot. The long-simmering dish is as satisfying as it is easy to make.
With St. Patrick’s Day on Friday, it’s time to reflect on the similarities between the Irish and Jews. Both like to drink, both have an inordinate dedication to family and both have nagging mothers asking when we will give them a grandchild. Something else that binds our two cultures is the St. Patrick’s Day bagel, colloquially known as a green or shamrock bagel. Its emerald hue often looks more like putrid refuse than fresh verdure — the bagels have a neon brightness that resembles the greenery in nuclear wastelands. That said, green bagels are a fun way to show your appreciation for the Irish while biting into a piece of Jewish culture. Here, for your daily dose of food porn, are a bunch of beautiful shamrock bagels.
When I was growing up in Toronto, Sunday was the best meal day of the week. Early in the morning, my father would go to Harbord Bakery and get kaiser rolls, bagels, sticky buns, a coffee cake and maybe even a few buffalo buns. Then he would head north to Eglinton Avenue to Daiter’s Dairy to get fresh cream cheese. (This was the 70s; the good Jewish foodstuffs were spread far and wide, and bagels were still considered an exotic food).