Irish Soda Bread

It’s not unusual for me to go into a blogging hiatus this time of year. Auditing is a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it. In all seriousness, things have been all consuming at work and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I welcome the familiar distraction. I’ve found myself in a new, exciting environment that is both challenging and rewarding.  I’m surrounded by people who push me and I can feel myself adapting constantly.

To be honest, work has been consoling for me. Only days after my last post, my best friend got married. It was a beautiful day that I will never forget. Definitely the best wedding I’ve ever been to. The only thing that would have made the day so over the top would have been if Ellen, my aunt and my sister’s god mother had been in attendance. My aunt had been diagnosed with cancer in the summer and was in the hospital at the time. My family and I were with her the very next day wielding wedding pictures and stories to share the joy with her. It breaks my heart still to say she died a few days later.

Beth, Aly, and Ellen

I’ve never felt so supported at work. During the summer and fall, my team and mentors made it possible for me to work from Long Island part time so I could have long weekends with my family. I was happy to be able to spend as much time with Ellen as I could. I was also glad I could be there for my mom and Aly, who’d been making multiple trips every day to the hospital toward the end.

I ripped a page out of Ellen’s book when it comes to entertaining and being the head chef in the kitchen. Ellen got a lot pleasure making delicious meals and taking care of everyone. Holidays and family get togethers were marked by some kind of special treat, whether it be corn muffins for Thanksgiving, chocolate Santa’s for Christmas or Irish soda bread for St. Patty’s day. If you’ve ever tasted love in food, then you’d know exactly what any of these morsels tasted like.

5 cups of flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups raisins
2 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sift together all dry ingredients. Add butter, buttermilk, and the egg. Roll up your sleeves and start mixing. The batter will be very sticky. Once the batter just comes together, add the raisins and give it a few good folds.

Pam or butter a cast iron skillet (preferred) or a 9 inch pie pan. Add the batter and cut a T in the dough before placing in the oven. Bake for an hour to hour and 15 minutes. Poke the bread directly in the center with a knife. It it comes out clean, then you’re good to go. Otherwise, leave it in the oven for another 10-15 minutes. Let cool and serve with a nice pat of butter. Yes, more butter.

So far, we’ve managed to make corn muffins and get our chocolate Santa’s. I’m sure among all of the cousins, someone will bake a soda bread this March. I can feel Ellen celebrating with us and we can continue sharing our happy family memories with her by keeping up traditions.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

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