"I'll sing you a song, of days long ago,
When the people from Galway and County Mayo,
from all over Ireland came here to stay and take up a new life in Americay.
They were ever so happy, they were ever so sad.
To grow old in a New World, through good times and bad.
All the parties and weddings; the Ceilis and Wakes.
When New York was Irish, full of joy and heartache."
That Paddy Reilly song gets to me every time. While it is a bittersweet song, I do have good memories of hearing it every Sunday on the radio in our apartment and in Grandma Walsh's apartment on WFUV Fordham University's "Music of the Irish" Program. Every Sunday we would go to Grandma's apartment for dinner. Her apartment always smelled so good. Warm, inviting, and enticing scents of roasted potatoes, meatloaf, and of course Irish Soda Bread. This was every Sunday, you could imagine St. Patrick's Day!
St. Patrick's Day holds a special place in my heart, I have so many good memories...Proudly wearing my Kilt and my Grandparents' "Erin Go Bragh" pin! If you don't know, 'Erin Go Bragh' means 'Ireland Forever!'
But what made it really special was that it was a day for me and Grandma. I got to stay up late, past my bed time, because she would take me to the Céili at the local Church. Those were true St. Patrick's Day Parties....Irish Music, Irish Accents, Soda Bread, and Céili dancing!
She would bring her Irish Soda Bread, which received many compliments and was always eaten and finished before those rock hard doorstoppers they sell at the supermarket.
So what exactly is it that makes Grandma's Soda Bread Different? In a word, Love.
She loved to make it and she loved to see our reaction to eating it. To this day if we mention her soda bread, Dad starts Mmmm-ing and dreaming about it. It was soft and flavorful, and you didn't have to fight anyone for a raisin!
I miss my Grandma Walsh very much, and I miss those times...
|"I look at the photographs all riddled with time, of the people I cherished... |
Oh how I love those radiant smiles, how I long for the days when we danced in the aisles."
Grandma Walsh's Irish Soda Bread
4 cups Unbleached Flour
1/4 cup Sugar
1 TBLSP Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Butter
1/4 cup Canola Oil
2 cups Buttermilk*
1- 1/2 TBLSP Caraway Seeds
1 Cup Raisins
*If you don't have Buttermilk you can substitute:
1 cup of Milk + 1 TBLSP Vinegar and let it sit for 5 minutes before using.
Preheat the oven to 375F.
2. Make a well in the flour mixture and add the1-1/2 cups Buttermilk, 1/4 cup melted Butter, 1/4 cup Canola Oil, and the egg. Mix well.
10. Brush the loaf with the butter mixture in the oven after 30 minutes and again 10 minutes before it's done.
11. Bread is done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
Serve with Hot Tea and Irish Butter.