My mother loved her Irish heritage. It was a huge part of her life and was reflected in what we ate and wore on March 17th every year.

When I was young, I thought everyone was Irish. I wore green shirts that said, Kiss Me I’m Irish to school and ate green colored food. My mother, on the other hand, wore a green hat, buttons that blinked, and pins with Irish sayings pinned to her green shirt. I think she might have dyed her hair green if she could get her hands on it.

One day, when I was old enough to notice that not everyone was wearing green at school, I realized St. Patrick’s Day was not like Halloween. Wait. Not everyone is Irish? No green colored food? One friend, who will remain anonymous, said, “Irish people are stupid.” That was the first time I thought twice about wearing my green shirt. I was never going to wear a green shirt again on St Patrick’s Day. I secretly tossed my green tuna sandwich hidden in my brown paper lunch bag in the trash that day. I was embarrassed to be Irish.

Today, I’m proud of my heritage. Irish people are known for being passionate. From religion to politics (and everything in between) and especially, food—they know how to get things heated up. Plus, they are some of the kindest people I know. 

I love this recipe. It comes together quickly and pairs perfectly with Irish cheddar cheese. Then, I’ll serve it an ice-cold glass of Irish beer for a perfectly traditional Irish celebration—and the only green I’ll be wearing is my green thumb as I gear up for spring plantings!

This bread is best eaten when it’s warm or within hours of baking. It also makes wonderful toast the next day. 

 

Traditional Irish Soda Bread

Adapted from Georgia Campbell

4 cups all-purpose flour lightly spooned 

1 tsp salt

1 cup buttermilk

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 

In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, and soda together. Stir in the buttermilk. Mix until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface. Fold dough over on itself about 5-6 times. Shape into a round flat disk about 2-inches high and cut a deep cross in the center to make sure it cooks in the middle. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the bread sounds hollow when tapped on. Cool slightly on a wire rack. Serve with fresh cheeses, butter, and fruit jams. 

 

Lisa Erickson is a food columnist who loves adventure and food. You can find more recipes by emailing her at wildchowrecipes@gmail.com.

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