A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from March 15, 2006
Corned Beef and Cabbage (Jiggs dinner)
"Corned beef and cabbage" is a popular Irish dinner, and it's often served on St. Patrick's Day. In 1925, "corned beef and cabbage" was voted to be the favorite dish of New York City.

"Corned beef and cabbage" was popularized by the character "Jiggs' in the comic strip "Bringing Up Father" by George McManus. The comic strip ran in the New York (NY) World and in other newspapers, from 1913. McManus died in 1954.

New York City's love affair with "corned beef and cabbage" has waned in recent years, but the dish has been served there since at least 1835.

The dish of corned beef and cabbage has also been called "Irish turkey" and "Red Mike and Violets."

Wikipedia: Jiggs dinner
Jiggs dinner, also called boiled dinner or cooked dinner, is a traditional meal commonly prepared and eaten on Sundays in many regions around the Atlantic provinces of Canada. Corned beef and cabbage was the favorite meal of Jiggs, the central character in the popular, long-running comic strip, Bringing Up Father, by George McManus and Zeke Zekley after whom the dish is likely named.

Wikipedia: Bringing Up Father
Bringing Up Father was an American comic strip created by cartoonist George McManus. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, it ran for 87 years, from January 12, 1913, to May 28, 2000.

The strip is also known as "Jiggs and Maggie" (or "Maggie and Jiggs"), after its two main characters. According to McManus, he introduced these same characters in other strips as early as November 1911.

Daily News (New York, NY)
All-American Irish classic
Corned beef & cabbage first paired up in N.Y.

If you think of corned beef and cabbage as Ireland's unofficial national dish, you may be surprised to hear that many on the Emerald Isle have never tasted it. They eat their cabbage with bacon (actually, it's a kind of ham).

The classic corned beef and cabbage combo probably got its start here more than a century ago, when Irish immigrants shopped at Jewish butcher shops, says Brendan Keenan, chef/instructor at the Art Institute of New York City.

"Since they shopped at Jewish butchers on the lower East Side, they bought corned beef as a substitute for the cured pork, or bacon, that they were used to buying in Ireland," says Keenan. "Cabbage, of course, grows well in warm, hot or cold weather, and it's available for most of the year, so they could continue to eat this with the meat."

Corned beef also became popular in the U.S. in the late 19th century because many new immigrants lived in poor neighborhoods without modern ways to preserve food, says Margaret Johnson, author of "The New Irish Table" (Chronicle Books, $24.95). "They used a brine made with kosher salt to preserve meat," she says. "Before long, they were making corned beef."
Originally published on March 12, 2003

Google Books
23 October 1821, The Kaleidoscope; or, Literary and Scientific Mirror (UK), pg. 128, col. 1:
Ballyblunder Castle, County Tipperary.
It was only yesterday, when, after I had expounded a ratio of corn beef and cabbage, and was preparing to wash it down with a sensation of whiskey and water, who should pop in but old Doctor Dustem.

18 November 1826, The Morning Post (London, UK), pg. 2, col. 3:
Potations of whiskey are gulphed down gallon deep; and the expanding stomach of each free elector receives the most incongruous mixture possible to be conceived; corned beef and cabbage, salt herrings, and beer and buttermilk glide down his throat in rapid succession, ...

Google Books
December 1834, Tennessee Farmer (Jonesboro, TN), "Curing Beef" from the Southern Planter, pg. 13:
To any taste uncorrupted by wretched habits, the "corned beef and cabbage," of the North, will be found a most agreeable change.

17 December 1835, Boston (MA) Courier,
COOKING STOVES. (...) In front of the grate a turkey roasting -- on one of the apertures a large pot of mock turtle cooking -- on another a fricassee de Poule -- on a third, corn beef and cabbage -- (...) New York Star.

29 February 1840, The New-York Mirror, pg. 287:
The New-Yorkers are a peculiar people,...
The kitchen I examined very closely, and when the cook's back as turned, lifted the lid from the kettle, and discovered there was nothing preparing for dinner but corned beef and cabbage.

14 March 1840, The New-York Mirror, pg. 300:
I smelt corned beef and cabbage for dinner.

14 September 1841, Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), pg. 3, col. 4 ad:

18 April 1842, Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle, pg. 2:
...found nothing on the table but corn beef and cabbage.

15 December 1849, Scientific American, pg. 97:
Corned Beef and Cabbage
The Edinburgh Review says that cabbage contains more muscle sustaining nutriment than any other vegetable whatever. Boiled cabbage and corned beef make fifty-two as good dinners in twelve months as a man can eat.

20 June 1850, Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle, pg. 3:
...with half cooked corned beef and cabbage, par-boiled potatoes, &c.
December 1853, Peterson's Magazine, pg. 267:
And here I must digress a moment to ask if any of my readers likes corned beef and cabbage?

29 November 1919, Des Moines (IA) Sunday Register, "'Bringing Up Father' in Real Life," magazine sec., pg. 3, col. 8:
Mrs. Jiggs was a buxom lady who could cook corned beef and cabbage and potatoes beautifully, and in the humble Jiggs home this was largely the bill of fare.

9 December 1920, Vancouver (BC) Daily World, pg. 9, col. 6 ad:
TRY A JIGG'S DINNER -- Corned beef and cabbage, tasty and economical, no bone, no waste.
(Provincial Public Market. -- ed.)

23 February 1921, The Evening News (Harrisburg, PA), pg. 16, col. 1:
A "Jiggs" dinner will feature the weekly noon meeting tomorrow of the Kiwanis Club in the Penn-Harris.

15 June 1925, Washington (DC) Post, "Corned Beef Favorite Dinner in New York," pg. 1:
New York, June 14 (by A. P.).-- Corned beef and cabbage is the favorite dinner dish of most New Yorkers, if the poll just completed by the United Restaurant Owners association gave an accurate picture of the metropolitan appetite.

Of the 180,000 votes cast, "Red Mike and Violets," as the succulent dish is known in less ornate caravansaries, led with more than 23,000. Second on the list of preferences was "vegetable dinner," with 18,549, while third place went to veal cutlet and fourth to Long Island duckling.

15 June 1925, Washington (DC) Post, pg. 1:
With the discover that corned beef and cabbage is the favorite dinner dish in New York what's delaying the enemies of Mayor Hylan putting up the name of Mr. Jiggs?

19 April 1929, Los Angeles (CA) Times, pg. A8:
Jiggs's meal did not consist of corned beef and cabbage.

12 November 1929, Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, pg. 18:
Mr. McManus himself tells how he created the immortal "Mr. Jiggs", glorified corned beef and cabbage, and made a million dollars -- for someone else.

24 January 1940, Waukesha (WI) Freeman, pg. 3?, col 3:
"Jiggs" -- corned beef and cabbage.

18 April 1949, New York (NY) Times, pg. 30 ad:
Corned beef and cabbage was hardly a popular dish on American menus...until Jiggs began to indicate his joy in it.

Today, in every state in the Union, in every economic class, in Park Avenue dining salons and in Main Street lunch counters, corned beef and cabbage is ordered and enjoyed by millions.

Jiggs and Maggie and all the other beloved characters in Puck, The Comic Weekly are part of the very lives of millions of Americans.

23 October 1954, New York (NY) Times, pg. 15:
George McManus Is Dead at 70;
Cartoonist Created Jiggs Family

Associate of Hearst for 41
Years Was the "Prototype"
for Comic Character

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Oct. 22 (AP) -- George McManus, creator of the comic strip character Jiggs, died tonight. He was 70 years old. His physician said Mr. McManus had been suffering from hepatitis, an infection of the liver.

Strip Appeared for 41 Years

George McManus' "Bringing Up Father," in which the comic characters Jiggs and Maggie have disported themselves regularly for more than forty-one years, is printed in some 750 newspapers throughout the world and translated into twenty-seven languages.
Jiggs, the red-haired rowdy from the wrong side of the tracks, forced by Maggie into a topper and tails and life among the elite, rebels continuously and returns to the scenes of his former life, the corned beef and cabbage, beer and gusty companions of his youth.

17 March 1977, Chicago (IL) Tribune, "The learnin' O'...the green -- a St. Pat's primer" by Jim Gallagher, pg. A1:
In Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is considered a holy day, not a holiday, and it is commemorated at mass, not on Main Street. Families often gather around the table for a supper of boiled ham and potatoes, and there might be some step-dancing and sporting of shamrocks.

But you won't find anyone eating corned beef and cabbage. That salty favorite of Jiggs' in the comic strips is strictly an Irish-American specialty. And public celebrations do not occur. Until recently the pubs were closed by law, and now they're only open for a few hours, just on Sunday.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Wednesday, March 15, 2006 • Permalink

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