Sunday, March 15, 2009

American Irish Soda Bread and Who Is Erin, Anyway?

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Back in 1983 I kissed the Blarney Stone. Shortly after, I got my first job in public relations. That one big wet kiss has served me well in both my professional and personal life. Yet with all that loquacious luck at my disposal, I’ve always been at a loss to explain the phrase “Erin Go Bragh.” So, as I take this piping hot Irish Soda Bread out of the oven in honor of Saint Patty’s Day, I can report that I finally know the answer. We didn’t have Wikipedia back in 1983, but now I know that “Erin Go Bragh,” is a Gaelic phrase that means “Ireland Forever.”

Irish Soda Bread is one of the first “quick breads” I remember baking. I didn’t know that there are variations on the traditional recipe. I mistakenly thought that the authentic recipe contains raisins and caraway seeds. That's a bit of blarney. The recipe containing raisins and added sugar is actually called American Irish Soda Bread, which I have made here. The additional ingredients were added to satisfy the American craving for sweets. The authentic recipe, from “the old sod,” does not contain raisins or seeds – just flour, butter, salt, sour milk and soda for leavening.

Oh, well. It still tastes light, buttery and delicious. And that’s no blarney.

©2009 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved

11 comments:

Julia said...

Nice to know you had the luck of the Irish even though you didn't know what "Erin Go Braugh" meant. I didn't either until this moment! Thanks for looking it up!

Maryann said...

"who is Erin anyway?"...you crack me up.
Your bread looks great :)

veron said...

lovely bread! And isn't wikepedia great!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

This American Irish soda bread was the first quick bread I ever made, too. I didn't include the seeds but did include golden raisins, which I love. And as I'm not Irish, I think it's okay to have raisins in my soda bread.

Maris said...

Your irish soda bread looks so good! More importantly though, I'm happy to learn what "Erin Go Braugh" means. My Irish ancestors would be proud.

Raaga said...

this is the second soda bread I have looked at today. I so want to go make my own. This looks superb.

Kalyn said...

Your soda bread is gorgeous. I made this for the first time just last year and couldn't believe I missed out on it for so long.

Lori Lynn said...

The bread looks great! I've always liked the texture of soda bread.
Excellent St. Paddy's Day post.
LL

~~louise~~ said...

I just knew you would bring the sparkle to St. Patty's Day, T.W.

There sure have been an array of tempting recipes this year but sometimes, traditional recipes are simply the best!

Thanks for the Gaelic Etymology

Bottoms Up!

Rochelle R. said...

The soda bread looks yummy, it is one of those things that I say I am going to make but never have. My daughter had the luck to vacation in Ireland and from the pictures I can see it is a beautiful country.

Jann said...

Great looking soda bread. Have not had any in years...look what I am missing! Enjoyed reading the history site~