What's so corny about corned beef?

Hey, Matt:

Why is corned beef called corned beef? Is there corn in it? Is corn used in processing it?

-- Mark, Carlsbad

The cow might have eaten corn before it became beef, but that's as close as we'll get to a cob with this one. The shape and size of corn kernels inspired many and varied uses for the word "corn" for 500 years. Corn snow. Peppercorn. And corn salt, made by boiling away sea water. Eventually, anything preserved or cooked by boiling in brine, like a big hunk of cow, was said to be "corned."

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