Yes, I’m Irish today

Of course I celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! I’m a foodie, so I love to explore all cultures through their wonderful dishes.  Yes, okay, I did have a green bagel today, as lame as that might be, but a bagel is still a bagel, whether it’s green, pictureyellow or plain.  Also, I find this intercultural combination fascinating.  No, I don’t have a little childhood story celebrating this holiday, this time, since, growing up in Italy, I had never heard of St. Patrick.  But I will make corn beef and cabbage, today, with horseradish sauce, boiled potatoes and, if I have the time, the creamiest rice pudding, intensely flavored with vanilla and made with…arborio rice: perfect!  But the best thing about St. Patrick’s? Soda Bread.  Yes, I love Irish Soda Bread, and make it every March 17th.  I think that, through all these years of experimenting, I’ve come up with the best recipe for a round loaf that is high and crusty, the crumb moist and firm, scattered with tiny currants.  Beautiful, tender, delicious flavor.  Of course you must slather it with soft butter to bring out its very subtle sweetness, the melt-in-your-mouth quality.  Here’s my recipe, adapted from one in an Irish cookbook I have in my culinary library.  I believe this is the best I’ve ever had, and I’d be happy to just have a slice or two of this wonderful bread with a (small) mug of Irish coffee, and skip the rest of the meal.  This is the best part after all.  Sláinte!

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