Reuben sandwich on a cutting board
Why Exactly Do We Eat Reubens On St.
Patrick's Day?
By Garth Clingingsmith
On St. Patrick's Day in Ireland, people enjoy meals that would be ideal for a family feast, such as colcannon, roasted Spring lamb, fish pie, and some soda bread. A meal of simmered corned beef, potatoes, and the cheapest vegetable, cabbage, became a favorite way to feed a crowd.
In the U.S., Irish immigrants often ended up being neighbors to Jewish delis, where corned beef was familiar and affordable. Often associated with Irish food gatherings, corned beef and cabbage has been upgraded into the iconic Reuben, as the pub crawl culture of the holiday has brought about more portable foods.
With a Reuben sandwich, boiled cabbage gets a fermented upgrade into sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese offers nutty complexity. Rye bread is a deli favorite to hold it all in place, and it's topped with Thousand Island dressing, making it a great on-the-go meal.