Let me start off by saying I recognize what a divisive issue St. Patrick’s Day is for pagans. Seriously, I get it. The man was one of the worst things to ever happen to pagans and the continuation of our path. No doubt about it. He was a prick and for him to be considered a saint & worth celebrating is pretty rotten.
That said… there’s not a single person I know who is actually honoring Patrick when they’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. It’s just one of those things. (Also, March 17 is the date of his death, so if you wanna be all morbid you could celebrate the fact that this is the anniversary of when he left this world.) Generally people just use this day as an excuse to get ripping drunk, wear green, act a fool, and pretend they’re Irish. None of which, in reality, is particularly Irish or has anything to do with Patrick. (Yes, yes, drinking is entirely Irish, but those who actually have Irish blood can HANDLE their drink & don’t get all stupid & throwing up in the streets… just sayin’.)
For me, it’s a day to remember my Grandfather. He passed when I was eight, but for the time I was blessed to share with him, he was easily the most amazing man in my life. He was Irish, loved this holiday as ‘a frolic’, and enjoyed celebrating it with me. Obviously we didn’t go hit the bars, so that’s never what the day has been for me. It’s a time to reconnect with my Irish heritage, let the soul-memories rise to the surface of my thoughts and feel my spirit hum with the energy and power sent along the line of my ancestry.
It’s a day to honor family, enjoy some company, and yes… toss back a drink or three. But not getting stupid in the streets… and not celebrating a man who did such damage to Pagans. I have nothing but respect for the many of my fellow pagans who make it a point to not celebrate this holiday in any way. I get it – I get the stand you’re taking and why it’s right for you. I wouldn’t think of telling someone they were wrong for taking that kind of a stand. And were I not Irish… if I didn’t have that family bond… I’d likely be right there with you.
But I am… and I do… and so I celebrate it in my own way.
And this year – that included finally trying my hand at some Irish Soda Bread. I haven’t done it before because until the past year or so I haven’t had enough confidence in my own abilities in the kitchen to try anything other than box-mix cakes. … And don’t get me wrong – I’m still the queen of the easy-box-fixins and there will be more recipes like that in the future. But I’m starting to branch out, finding the joy in making things from scratch, and really getting “down & dirty” into the baking. And I *love* making bread.
Maybe it’s just me, but there seems to be something so intrinsically Pagan, Southern, and even Irish about staring into that bowl of flour & dropping an egg in … it speaks to all of my heritage. And this recipe is so incredibly easy, I wanted to share. It’s also so fast, that you could really make it after work & have some Irish Soda Bread with your dinner tonight! I know I am. 🙂
So without further ado –
Easy Irish Soda Bread
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup butter, melted & 1/4 cup buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet or cover with parchment paper. I love parchment paper for baking.
- In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and softened butter. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an ‘X’ into the top of the loaf.
- Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Check for doneness after 30 minutes. At 30 minutes mine was nearly done – only took a few minutes more. You can periodically brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes – I did.
And there you have it! So super-duper easy and OMG it makes the house smell great.
However you celebrate (or don’t) on this day, may you have a wonderful one!