Irish Stew, 1908


This recipe for Irish Stew comes from the Rumford Complete Cookbook, 1908. The Rumford Baking Powder Company was founded in 1859 and was situated in East Providence, Rhode Island.


  • 3 lbs. mutton, suitable for stewing (mutton is lamb that is more than one year old)
  • 8 medium-sized potatoes
  • 6 small onions
  • 1 small carrot
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 pints of water

Cut the meat into pieces of convenient size for serving. Remove some of the fat and put the meat into a saucepan with the water, which should be almost at the boiling point; add the onions, peeled and cut into thin slices, also the carrot, scraped and sliced. Cook very gently. The water should only simmer, for hard boiling would toughen the meat. At the end of an hour, add the potatoes, peeled and cut into thick pieces. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and continue to cook until the potatoes are tender, then serve all together on one dish.



According to the Smithsonian, you won’t find green beer, leprechauns, or corned beef and cabbage in Ireland on Saint Patrick’s Day. These traditions are very American. In Ireland, bacon and pork are more popular, and the Irish aren’t about to throw green food coloring into their pints. Furthermore, the corned beef we think of today is actually Jewish corned beef! The Jewish population in New York City typically tossed corned (salted to preserve) beef into a pot with cabbage and potatoes.

And, though the hordes of American tourists have changed Saint Patrick’s Day in Ireland into a day of celebration, traditionally, March 17 has been a religious holiday. So, Irish in your heritage or not, pin a shamrock to your lapel and…..

May you live as long as you want,
And never want as long as you live.




5 thoughts on “Irish Stew, 1908

  1. Thanks for setting the record straight on the history of corned beef and cabbage. I love corned beef and cabbage. Made it twice this month. Of course I have no problem enjoying some bacon and Guinness on St Patrick’s Day, a reflection of the Irish spirit. I’ll pass on the green beer too.


  2. My childhood memories of Irish stew are not good. A watery affair, padded out with greasy neck chops and gritty pearl barley. I called it Bones Down The River.
    Fast forward almost half a century and Marvellous Martha Reynolds produces a recipe that I actually think sounds delicious and I’d definitely have no problem eating xxx


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