A piedmont foodway more celebrated than St. Patrick’s Day: Scots-Irish
St. Patrick’s Day is the one day of the year that people celebrate Scots-Irish history here – and they do it rather superficially. We like to dig a little deeper and say that we don’t do an Irish dish, or Scots-Irish dish just one day of the year. We do it more often – you just don’t know it until someone draws your attention to it.
There are three primary foodways that influence the food of the North Carolina piedmont. The African influence is most noticeable and rather celebrated. Less-celebrated is our shared German heritage – such as the Moravians in Winston-Salem with their smoked meats, sausages, liver pudding, cabbage, coleslaw, chicken pies, and cookies.
The third foodway is the Scots-Irish.
Celebrate the region’s Scots-Irish heritage at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen with our “Still Winter” menu. On St. Patrick’s Day, join us for braised, all natural Corn Beef, Mustard-Braised Cabbage, Buttermilk and Chive whipped potatoes (recipes below).
Scots-Irish is a bit of a confusing term in and of itself.
Our understanding is that these folks represent a group of people who left Scotland and the poor working and living conditions there for Ireland. Within 2 generations or so they found their way to the New World and settled in the Appalachian and Piedmont regions; about 100 years before the famine in Ireland sent a great wave of Irish to America in the 1840s.
In the Piedmont and Appalachian mountains they found a region that was both similar to their own in geography, as well as undesired by the English, who lived closer to the coast.
These folks began to carve out a hardscrabble existence that informs much of what we’ve inherited in the ways of food traditions in the Carolinas, one that today gets taken for granted.
The Scots-Irish influence on the “Still Winter” menu
The end of winter is the most difficult time to eat locally sourced ingredients because the pickles and the salt cures are running out and spring has barely sprung. As winter gives way to springtime, our thoughts here at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen turn to our shared Scots-Irish heritage and their enduring foodways.
Scroll down for Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen’s Mustard-Braised Cabbage, Buttermilk and Chive whipped potatoes recipes.
Scotch Broth is a local lamb broth with pearled barley and vegetables.
Our take on the Corn Beef Sandwich (available during lunch only): we mixed chowchow with Creole mayonnaise to make it taste like 1,000 island dressing. But instead of sauerkraut, we use caramelized onions and mushrooms and cook it on a flat top grill with provolone cheese. So it’s kind of a cross between a Philly and a Reuben; centered around the corn beef.
Barley Risotto, which is nice and hearty and just happens to be vegan, with pickled leeks, roasted local mushrooms, confit garlic and crispy greens.
Pulled Lamb on Johnny Cakes features hickory-smoked Border Springs lamb on Johnny cakes with housemade ricotta. The Owensboro-style of barbecue traditionally involves mutton and very assertive seasoning. We’ve dialed the seasonings back a bit, as we substitute Border Springs Farm lamb in this dish that was developed in western Kentucky, which has its own Scots-Irish heritage.
Corn Beef and Cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen
The idea of offering Corn Beef and Cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day was proposed to us by a few of our guests, who saw that we were celebrating the foodways of the people around here in the Piedmont, and remarked to the effect that:
“This is the place that should have a Corn Beef and Cabbage special for St. Patrick’s Day. This is the place I want to come to have a meal and a pint of beer. I don’t want to go to a bar, I’ve outgrown that.”
We were already celebrating corn beef in our late winter menu, so it was a natural extension to add the Corn Beef and Cabbage special.
Maybe next year we’ll muster up the courage to prepare a proper Robert Burns Dinner for Burns night; that would truly be a tribute.
Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen’s Buttermilk Chive Whipped Potatoes
- 6 pounds Idaho potatoes
- 1 pound unsalted butter
- 1 cup fresh chives, minced
- 24 fl oz buttermilk
- 2 tbsp salt (or to taste)
Wash potatoes thoroughly. Peel and then steam until tender. Strain well.
Combine all ingredients in a mixer and combine until desired consistency.
Taste for seasoning.
Makes 8 cups
Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen’s Mustard Braised Cabbage
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- ¼ cup yellow onion, diced
- 1 pound green cabbage, chopped
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1 ½ tbsp Gulden’s mustard
Heat oil in skillet to medium high. Sauté onions until golden. Add rough chopped cabbage and sauté until shiny and softened, but not wilted. Add stock and mustard and simmer for five minutes.
Makes 3 cups