Monday, March 17, 2014
Happy St. Patrick's Day! And now a lesson in being Irish.
....It always seemed a little odd to me that there is a holiday that celebrates being Irish. I mean yeah we are actually that awesome that I can understand wanting to be Irish, but other people are awesome, too. Like Norwegians (Vikings ruled), or Australians
but we don't have holidays where everyone pretends to be Brazilian.
Whatevs, that is not the reason for this post.
The real reason is the massive misconception that Americans have regarding soda bread.
Every year on St. Patrick's Day (or maybe St. Paddy's, but it is NEVER EVER EVER "St. Patty's." Patty is a woman's name. Patrick is shortened to Paddy), I see people making this thing that they call "Irish soda bread."
I understand how corned beef became known as an Irish thing*, but not this. Mainly because
1. Irish people are the pickiest eaters I have ever met. They do like strange things in their food, such as weird seeds that do not belong in bread, or raisins that also do not belong in bread. I am considered a freak in my family because I eat "weird" food and enjoy it, and because I put veggies like peas and carrots in my shepherds pie (this is a huge no-no in my family, shepherds pie should contain meat and potatoes only).
2. Irish people are poor. Raisins are expensive. Perhaps not here and now, but way back when in Ireland, they were expensive.
If you went to Éire and asked for soda bread, you would receive this:
Plain brown bread.
But just because it's plain, doesn't mean it isn't delicious. Especially slathered in butter, or dipped in soup. So here is great-granny's recipe.
You will need:
- 4 cups flour
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. baking soda (where the name "soda bread" comes from)
- 2 cups buttermilk
To make it:
Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda together. Make a well in the middle of the mixture and pour in the buttermilk. Mix it all together until well blended. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface, and then press into rounds that are about 1 - 2 inches thick. Use a butter knife to cut crosses into the top.
Traditionally, the bread was baked in cast iron pots over a stove. You can do that if you like--put a little flour in the pot or pan and bake the bread over medium-low heat, 10 - 15 minutes on each side. I've never had success with that, and neither did Granny. You can bake the bread in the oven at 375 degrees F for about 20 minutes.
It tastes even better the next day. I made those two massive loaves and they're already gone....
Enjoy your St. Paddy's days, kids! Try not to get too drunk.
*We do not eat corned beef in Ireland. No one in my family even knew what it was until I explained it to them. It was something Irish immigrants in the US made because the meat was cheap and Irish people are poor.