National Corned Beef Hash Day
annually on September 27th
Hash, an edible mixture made from food cut into small pieces, takes its name from hacher, the French word for "to chop." Corned beef is a type of salt-cured brisket. The large, almost corn kernel-sized grains of salt used to treat the meat give it its name. Corned beef hash, consisting of chopped corned beef, diced potatoes, chopped onion, and spices, is celebrated and enjoyed today on National Corned Beef Hash Day.
Corned beef hash is often topped with fried or poached eggs or hash browns. It is commonly served with baked beans, toast, and hollandaise sauce. Since its creation, and often still today, making corned beef hash is a way to use up leftovers. It usually is eaten during breakfast or brunch, but can be eaten during lunch or dinner. Besides being eaten on National Corned Beef Hash Day, the dish is regularly enjoyed on St. Patrick's Day and the day after it, and around Thanksgiving and Christmas.
During the second half of the nineteenth century, Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants—Jews from northern Europe—brought corned beef recipes to the United States. In New England, a type of beef hash started being made with leftovers of boiled beef, cabbage, potatoes, and onions. Similar recipes appeared in newspapers by the 1860s. For example, a recipe for corned beef hash printed in the Lawrence Republican in June 1861 called for boiled corned beef and potatoes along with butter and pepper. Soon afterward, canned corned beef hash began being manufactured.
Corned beef hash was served up in field kitchens and garrisons during World War I, and by the war's end was being included in field ration kits. It was once again included in ration kits during World War II and was also popular on the homefront, both from the can and from scratch, at a time when there was meat rationing. It continued to be popular as comfort food in the postwar years. Hormel Foods began selling it in cans in 1950, and it continues to be canned by many companies today. Whether canned or homemade, corned beef hash has remained a staple, and it has its day today with National Corned Beef Hash Day!