Mar. 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day!

It’s St. Patrick’s Day today and, in his honor, I planted this lovely heather that I got at Trader Joe’s. It’s supposed to grow to several feet high and wide and, having lovingly planted, watered and told it how beautiful it is, I’m going to stand back and wait for that to happen.

Speaking of Patrick, he had a pretty tough time, captured by Irish pirates at age 16, brought to Ireland, enslaved for six years working as a shepherd in County Antrim, heard a voice at age 22 telling him to go home, ran away to port, set sail for Britain, shared his new faith with fellow shipmates, had a vision to go back to the place where he had been held captive and minister to the people. His impact on Ireland? Vast! 100,000 baptisms, 300 new churches, countless priests and nuns, beaten repeatedly, chained, faced execution…sounds a little like the Apostle Paul’s testimony.

 

“And he watched over me before I knew Him and before I learned sense or even distinguished between good and evil.”

 

“I pray to God to give me perseverance and to deign that I be a faithful witness to Him

 to the end of my life for my God.”

 

There will be parades all over the world, everyone you see will be decked out in green, green beer will be readily available and more arrests than any other day of the year for...shall we call it…impaired driving?

 

St. Patrick’s Day brings to mind some lovely people John and I knew back in the days when he was hosting a radio program each Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to noon on KCBH-FM, which has been a number of other stations since then, currently KYSR-FM. They were the Galligan Family, who traveled the world singing Gaelic folk music. Jim Galligan, who was very tall and cadaverously thin, was married to a lovely petite lady, whose name escapes me now.  Jim sent us a loaf of Irish soda bread which he said “Was made this way in County Armagh by Grandma Galligan many years ago.”

 

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and put 3 cups of flour in a bowl with 1 TB of baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. salt.

2. Rub in 4 TB. soft butter, 1 TB of caraway seeds, 1 cup of currants, 1 cup of dark raisins, 1 cup of golden raisins.

3. Mix!

4. Add ¾ cup of sugar, 1 beaten egg and 2 cups of buttermilk

(I realize very few of us have buttermilk lounging around in our fridge so to continue with your Irish soda bread, pour 2 TB of white vinegar in your measuring cup and add enough milk to make 2 cups. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and read the Calendar section of the paper or go make your bed and by the time you finish, you’ll have buttermilk. Cool, huh!)

5. Pour in greased iron skillet or loaf pan. 

6. Bake 10 minutes at 400 degrees and then 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

7. Test center with a toothpick to see if it’s done, let it rest for 10 minutes, cut yourself a slice, butter it, and enjoy.

My advice is to avoid green beer and make yourself some authentic Irish soda bread.  In case you didn't know, C. S. Lewis was from Ireland, as were James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift and Bram Stoker.  Now there’s a mixed bag if I ever saw one!