Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I have no idea why Patrick was given this honor, as he wasn’t even born in Ireland, and everyone knows it was the Irish leopard who did in all the snakes. We are going to celebrate the occasion at our friend Leah’s. Her husband Paul, a large Apache with a grey ponytail will be cooking corned beef, and the guests will bring the rest of the feast. There is always an interesting group of people with music supplied by guitars, a fiddle and a boudron (sp.) which is a sort of drum played with a frenetic beat. The price of admission is a limerick to be read aloud throughout the evening. I will wear my Irish faux leopard coat which was given to me third hand by my daughter, after the leopards finished off the snakes. I am taking my famous Irish Whiskey Soda Bread.
Mr. Advice and I traveled through Ireland for three weeks several years ago, and the first morning out, we emerged from our hotel into a heavy dripping fog, and our bus driver called out “Ah! It’s a grand soft mornin”! ( I think that’s what they mean by Irish Blarney.) Along with all the other tourists, we kissed the Blarney stone towards the end of our journey. How anyone ever thought to climb all the way up there and lie on your back to kiss a stone, is one of Life’s great mysteries.
My Grandpa Jim was filled with blarney. His only claim to being Irish was from his mother, who was a Foley, but I know he never thought of himself as Irish. He came from Montreal, and short as he was, played on a hockey team. After I learned to ice skate while we lived in Connecticut, he wrote me and said we would skate together when I came back home. It never happened. He wore a wool cap and large horn-rimmed glasses, and always seemed a small, grey personage who drifted in and out of my life. He lived alone after my Grandma Nellie divorced him, which we’ll talk about later. He played cribbage, and was an expert. I finally beat him though, but I was nearly 40 years old before it happened, and I think he was having a bad day. When he died in Grants Pass Oregon, while living with my parents,he was buried in the family plot, but my Grandma would not allow him to be put anywhere near her, so he is in one corner at the bottom, and she eventually was laid out in the farthest corner at the top of the plot. I don’t think he had a very happy life, and I miss him. Lift a passing glass. Slange!
I’m feeling generous today, so I think I will pass along the recipe for my aforementioned Irish Soda Bread.
Soak 1 cup golden raisins in 1/2 cup Irish Whiskey (water if you must.)
Mis together 2 cups flour, 3 Tbs. sugar, 1 tsp baking soda, 3/4 tsp salt
Cut in 4 Tbs cold butter until it looks like coarse crumbs. Drain and stir in the raisins.
Stir in 3/4 cup plus 1 Tbs. buttermilk. Stir just until barely together, then gently knead 5-6 times. Try not to add additional flour. It will be sticky.
Put on parchment covered baking sheet. Crisscross loaf with sharp klnife or razor . Bake 30 min at 375. Cool on cloth covered rack and cover with cloth to keep it soft.