I always knew getting married would mean compromises, especially when it came to family.Ever since I was a little kid, missing Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter was a big no-no. Birthdays could be shifted around a bit, and long periods of non visiting were acceptable (particularly when I lived in Philly) but nothing was more important than celebrating with family on these three days. When I got married to, not my high school sweetheart, but still a friend from my hometown, I thought how great life was. Both sets of parents lived within 10 minutes of each other. There was no need to travel halfway across the country, decide whose parents were “more important” to visit for each holiday, then switch it up the next year. It was all well and good in theory, but not so much in practice. Instead of splitting and alternating like many couples, we double celebrate each holiday. That means two Christmases, two Easters and yes, two very filling Thanksgivings. Two food centric events on the same day.
St. Patrick’s Day causes a frenzy of leprechauns, shamrocks, green beer and everything Irish people can get their hands on. I’ve lived in the same building for almost 7 years and while I don’t know everyone, I don’t think we have any Irish, yet I can the scent of corned beef and cabbage is already permeating the halls, and wafting its way into my apartment. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no exception. I already have some brisket brining and the strong scent of cabbage will take over in a few hours.
Any holiday or reason to cook, I’m all over it. And St. Patrick’s Day is no different…with maybe one exception, the Soda Bread. People get so excited about Soda Bread, with its crunchy caraway seeds and plump raisins, it’s almost like a dessert. The first time I visited Ireland, I was astonished to see our version of soda bread is really nothing like theirs. It’s still yeast free, using baking soda instead as a levener, but it wasn’t sweet at all. No raisins, no caraway seeds, just a simple bread, toasted with plenty of butter. I’m not going to pretend I know why the recipe changed to more of a dessert like bread moving across the Atlantic pond, but it did. Soda bread in both forms is good, but it’s not the bread I fell in love with. There was something about a hearty, ridiculously dense slice of brown bread that just made me swoon.