Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! I grew up with Irish grandparents, so this was always a BIG day in my family. My grandmother would make corned beef and cabbage, my grandfather would hang a big Irish flag up over the garage, and there was a lot of singing of folk songs (never mind that no one in my family can actually sing!). It was like “My Big Fat Irish Holiday.”
Today, I’m going to go to a parade this afternoon, and a concert of Irish music tonight. There will be no singing, and probably no corned beef, and definitely none of those tall green hats, but maybe some Guinness.
A few factoids. This is the feast day of St. Patrick, who lived from around 373 to 493, and who died on March 17 (the best way to commemorate this, of course, is green beer!). The biggest parade in the US is in New York City, where an estimated 2 million people show up. The first public celebration of SPD in the US was in Boston in 1737. In New York, the Crown and Thistle tavern held a party in 1756, and in 1780 George Washington allowed his troops a holiday on March 17 (later known as the St. Patrick’s Day Encampment).
I hope you all have a bonny day! Does anyone have any fun plans?
And, in case you feel the urge to bake, here is my grandmother’s soda bread recipe (I don’t give this to just anyone!):
Irish Soda Bread
5 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
I tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp, cut into cubes
2 1/2 cups raisins
3 tbsp caraway seeds
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter heavy, ovenproof 10 to 12 inch diameter skillet with 2 to 2 1/2 inch high sides. Whisk first 5 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Add butter; using fingertips, run in until coarse crumbs form. Stir in raisins and caraway seeds. Whisk buttermilk and egg in medium bowl to blend. Add to dough; using wooden spoon, stir just until well incorporated (dough will be very sticky)
Transfer dough to prepared skillet; smooth top, mounding slightly in center. Using small, sharp knife cut 1 inch deep X in top center. Bake until bread is cooked through and tester inserted comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool bread in skillet 10 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool completely. Makes 8 to 10 servings.