St. Patrick, in 432 AD, converted the Irish to Christianity and he died on March 17th. Legend holds that St. Patrick shared a shamrock to demonstrate the Christian Trinity, and now the shamrock is proudly displayed on St. Patrick’s Day. Although Ireland is about the size of West Virginia you are only 70 miles or less from the sea in any direction. With Jack’s West Virginia roots and my love of the sea maybe Ireland should be our next destination.
Florida crackers were greatly influenced by many Irish ways as Grady McWhiney explains in his book, Cracker Culture, Celtic Ways in the Old South.
“In 1783 a German visiting the Carolina backcountry found longhorn cattle, swine, and slovenly people whom he identified as “Crackers.” In 1790 a Spanish official reported the “influx (into Florida) of rootless people called Crackers.” Descendants of those Crackers went on to produce some of the finest recipes in the South.
Cracker Cooking gives us easy, delicious Quick Self-Rising Biscuits cooked on a flat-iron skillet.
Soda bread of the 1830’s later became known as Irish Soda Bread, prepared by immigrants in America and not an original Irish bread. By the late 1800’s Irish Soda Bread, a light bread leavened with baking soda instead of yeast and cooked in a cast-iron skillet, replaced in America traditional Irish Brown Bread. Colcannon, another traditional Irish favorite was replaced by Corned Beef and Cabbage.
The recipe below is a fancy version of Old Fashioned Soda Bread.
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 cups raisins, optional
- 2 eggs
- 1¼ cup buttermilk
- 1 cup sour cream
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease a 9-inch cast iron skillet.
- Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Stir in raisins, if desired.
- In a medium bowl combine eggs, buttermilk and sour cream.
- Stir into flour mixture until just mixed.
- Knead the sticky dough about 10 times.
- Shape into a ball and place in skillet.
- Cut a 4 inch X across the top of the dough.
- Bake at 350 degrees about one hour or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool in pan 10 minutes then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.