Some cooking tips on perfecting that humble corned beef

- Mulling or pickling spices that you might want to add will stay in one place (rather than float around like so much confetti) if you wrap them in a square of cheesecloth tied into a "tea bag" with kitchen twine.

- Thousands of Jewish bubbas can't be wrong: the best way to cook a brisket (which is what corned beef is at base) is to "steam" it in the oven rather than boil away the flavor in a bath of water or broth. Flat baking pan, an inch of cover with the wet, 2-3 hours, until the internal temperature reaches 165F. Den you vill know from corned beef.

- And for the water or broth, up its ante by adding a cup or two of beer, or some terrific apple juice or dry white wine.

- But do use plain water to rinse the corned beef before cooking it. Gets excess salt out of the picture.

~ Bill St John