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Min’s Irish Soda Bread

For as long as I can remember, my mother has cooked her famed Corned Beef and Cabbage for each and every Saint Patrick’s Day. Except for Christmas, I never felt further from home in New York than on St. Paddy’s Day, 3,000 miles away from my family and our delicious traditional meal.

So you can imagine how excited I am for tonight’s Family Dinner! That’s right! In honor of Saint Patrick and Frost Family Tradition, Mama Frost is making her wonderful Corned Beef and Cabbage and I baked two loaves of Irish Soda Bread to go along with it. Mmmmmmm…. I love me some Irish Soda Bread! My mom gave me this recipe, and I think she got it from her father, who probably got it from his mother, Min. But I’m just guessing.

Grandma Min’s Irish Soda Bread

Oven: 325*
Prep: 10 min.
Bake: 65-70 min.
What you’ll need:
A 9×5 loaf pan (I use a 9″ cake pan and it works fine.)
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg lightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup melted butter

P.S. As I typed that list out, I realized that I totally did not add the baking soda to my Irish Soda Bread. What happens when you skip the baking soda in a recipe? (We’ll find out at dinner tonight.)

Preheat your oven to 325* and grease your loaf pan.

Combine flour, baking powder, BAKING SODA, sugar, and salt.

Blend egg and buttermilk, then add all at once to flour mixture.

add buttermilk and egg

Mix buttermilk and egg mixture into flour mixture until just moist.

mix in until just moist

Stir in the melted butter…

add butter

Then… defile the Irish and add RAISINS to the mix! Yes, that’s right. Traditional Irish Soda Bread does not contain raisins, at least not according to the Internets. However, my family’s traditional recipe does include raisins, and it’s delicious that way, so do as the Frosts do and add raisins! Yum! (Also, don’t really defile the Irish. We love and adore the Irish. In fact, the Frosts are Irish. So maybe the Internets are wrong about what makes Soda Bread authentic.)

add raisins

I have no idea how many raisins you should add. Just throw in a bunch until you think it looks right. And be sure not to forget the baking soda. It is, after all, Irish Soda Bread.

Pour your batter (it should be thick and gooey, like the batter for scones) into your greased loaf pan. I like to use a rubber spatula to scrape the mixing bowl clean. Put it in a 325* oven for 65 to 70 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

irish soda bread

Well, it looks fantastic. Too bad this blog doesn’t have smell-o-reading because it smells fffffaaaaannnntaaaasssstic! Now you’re going to let it cool on a wire rack for thirty minutes to an hour.  For best flavor, wrap it in a clean dishcloth and let it sit over night before serving. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Now for your daily sleeping wiener:

wiener dreams

(Tomorrow I’ll tell you what the fam thought of my soda-less soda bread. Seriously? How could I forget the baking soda?)

***It was awesome, by the way. Delish. Everybody had multiple helpings, and one of my brothers even skipped dessert so he could justify eating more of the sodaless soda bread. But really? The true star of the show was my mother’s Corned Beef and Cabbage which, Holy Mother of Goldfish, was so incredible, so much more incredible than I even remembered, it was completely worth moving 3,000 miles across the country for.

How is it all ready after ten?

Now that I’ve had a couple of days to think about it, now that I’ve said it out loud to the Internet and fielded reminders about how I give snide a-holes too much power over me, (Thanks, Mama, I love you too), I’ve begun to think that maybe it’s just life.  Or at least that’s what it is now.  Weeks ago it was raisins and now it’s life.  That’s pretty awesome.

Today Mike and I drove around Long Island making sales calls in boutique pet stores.  I wish you could hear how good my Long Island accent is getting, you’d be really impressed.  Also, do you have any idea how many pet stores in my territory sell more pet clothes than pet foods?  It’s incredible.

We ate our lunches (Mike made turkey, cheese, pepper, avocado sandwiches) sitting by the ocean in Northport, Long Island.  The houses there look like doll houses, with their wrap-around-porches and attic windows.  I dream of spending long sunny spring afternoons curled with a book in one of those attic windows, and then Mike grabs the steering wheel and shouts, “PAY ATTENTION!”

He’d like to be doing all the driving, but I’m the one with the Zip Car membership, and the penalty fees are big if they find out I let a non-member drive my rental.  Why does that sound dirty?  A non-member driving my rental?

So it’s beautiful in Long Island.  And I feel like I spent some time in the sun, because I did, sitting there by the ocean, shivering in my coat because even though this weekend is MAY, Mother Nature hasn’t turned the heat up yet.

Today, sitting by the ocean, I checked my email in the palm of my hand.  I’m just barely beginning to figure the thing out, but all ready that little device is sucking out my soul, I can feel it.  My BlackBerry buzzes whenever one of my friends updates their Facebook status.  It’s insane.  Today, this girl I knew in grade school updated her Facebook status, complaining because her AC isn’t working and my phone buzzed and I was compelled to reply.  Connected all of the time, everywhere, to people I haven’t even spoken to since grade school.  And now she probably thinks I’m a weirdo, because out of nowhere, the girl who brought a dead snake to school in third grade* is publicly scolding her for complaining about her AC when other people in other cities are still wearing their winter coats.

This new mobile device is going to get me into trouble.  But look!  It can do this!


And now you see how impossibly narrow my little kitchen really is.

*The teacher was not amused, and neither was my mother.

When life gives you raisins


When I started this website I had big plans.  Though I didn’t know how my plans would play out, I knew that they must be played perfectly.  Nothing else was acceptable.

My mother is always telling me that I put too much pressure on myself.  I tend to disagree.  The problem, I think, is that I don’t pressure myself enough.  You see, I am a perfectionist with very high expectations and a very good imagination.  While those three attributes might work well when used alone and in small doses, put them together and you get a girl like me; roaringly enthusiastic and easily discouraged.

In other words, I’m disappointed a lot.

In January, things started off with a bang.  The response from friends and family about my new website had me walking on cloud 9.  I was electrified.  I was writing every day, for hours on end.  I wrote by hand on the subway, leaning into the tight little alcove where the doors and the seat barriers meet.  I wrote at home, curled in my blue chair with the sun on my back, an animal tucked into my hip.  When I wasn’t writing I was thinking about writing and when I went to sleep I dreamt in a string of words. Words, words, beautiful, glorious, thrilling words.

Then life was lived and things were said and sometimes even people who think they mean well can deliver a blow that snuffs out a flame that only moments before had learned how to burn bright in the wind.

Months have gone by and still, still I am forcing out posts, sentence by sentence, word by excruciating word.  You know what it’s like when you’ve been constipated for days and you’re sitting on the pot breathing so hard there’s sweat breaking at your temples and then finally, finally something bursts forth and you think, Yes!   But no, no, the fruit of your labor is the size of a small raisin.  And your heart breaks a little bit.

That is what writing has become.

However.  I will not be so easily defeated.  There is something… there is something in there, just right there, I can feel it.  So when the Universe gives me raisins, I will give them to the Internet.