“One dinner which [Mrs. Eddy] liked so much that it almost seemed as if she hardly knew when to stop eating was boiled dinner. But that was not ordinary boiled dinner such as most of us are used to. The corned beef was put on at dawn to simmer in a great kettle. Then all kinds of vegetables were put in and this cooked and cooked until it was almost like jelly. Three Bartlett pears were added when they were to be had.
When this dish was brought to the table it was of such texture and consistency that it melted in the mouth. Custard pie was often served as dessert.
As it was quite a job to prepare and cook these boiled dinner just as Mrs. Eddy wanted them, I always saw that there was ample quantity on hand. The leftover cabbage was packed in a mold and sliced down and served cold, dressed with vinegar the next day. The vegetables and beets were made into what Mrs. Eddy called ‘flannel hash.’ She was very fond of these dishes, but the family somtimes got tired of them and fussed a bit when they saw a boiled dinner appear, thinking, I suppose, that there were going to get too much of a good thing.” (Weygandt reminiscences, p. 36-37)
When I set out to recreate New England boiled dinner, I had some trouble figuring out what “corned beef” looked like. I know you can buy corned beef hash in cans, but that’s not what I was after. The tattooed hipster store clerks at the community co-op where I shop had no clue either. I circled the store several times before I found it.