Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Sweet Tea Rant

If i could only write bagpipe tunes!!! That would be a sweet title for a slip jig!!! Anyway, i thought this was a fun and thought provoking line of argument over something as simple as Irish soda bread. This was an email i sent to a friend who sent me some soda bread recipes from a "chef friend" of hers. Obviously the "friend" knew what they were talking about since they included a pic of their mom and grandmother in County Tipperary. Anyway here's the quote, and my reply follows...

My mother in 1932 with her Grandmother in Nenagh, County Tipperary (see pic @ right).There has been an unbroken line of soda bread bakers in our family since it's introduction in the 1800s. My mother still makes soda bread today.
All recipes for traditional soda bread contain flour, baking soda, sour milk (buttermilk) and salt.
This was a daily bread that didn't keep long and had to be baked every day or so. It was not a festive "cake" and did not contain whisky, candied fruit, caraway seeds, raisins (add raisins to the recipe and it becomes "Spotted Dog" not to be confused with the pudding made with suet of the same name), or any other ingredient. There are recipes for those type of cakes but they are not the traditional soda bread eaten by the Irish daily since the mid 19th century. Here are a few basic recipes. Note that measurements below are in American standards. (An Irish teaspoon is not the same as an American teaspoon measurement.)


OK my family has been away from Ireland a much longer time than this lady's but i gotta ask in regards to this...

"did not contain whisky, candied fruit, caraway seeds, raisins (add raisins to the recipe and it becomes "Spotted Dog" not to be confused with the pudding made with suet of the same name), or any other ingredient. There are recipes for those type of cakes but they are not the traditional soda bread eaten by the Irish daily since the mid 19th century"

with the myriad of recipes for Irish soda bread floating all over Ireland, isn't that kind of like the Cajun's arguing over whether gumbo is shrimp or no shrimp, okra or no okra? Some families say its GOT to have "x" to be "traditional" or if it does contain "x" its not traditional. I'm not trying to pick a fight here, just wondering. To me, being from Oklahoma (to which some Southerners would not regard as a "southern" state, though i certainly consider myself a proud Confederate) i sometimes wonder how in the hay some "Southerners" don't drink sweet tea. To me, if it ain't sweet tea, its Yankee tea. But does that make someone born and raised in the South a yankee cuz they don't like sweet tea? My point being, does it make it less traditional if you add caraway seeds? or raisins? I'm not saying adding whisky or candied fruit, that sounds too much like fruit cake to me, is good either. Of course, at this point, according to my argument above, we're just splitting hairs. But, who wants hair in their "traditional soda bread", and if it is in there, would that make it "untraditional"?

Slainte!!!

3 comments:

Bo said...

So, in chili, beans or no beans?.

In BBQ, pork or beef?

Enchiladas, red or green?

Some of the most renowned chefs cooked food that isn't cooked where they grew up. Who cares. Does it taste good? It all depends on what you like. Don't let anybody tell you differently, even if it is Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill.

Bag Blog said...

If fajitas is the Spanish word for flank steak - you know the part of the cow that shakes the flies off - how can we have chicken fajitas? Do shrimp have flank muscle because I have had shrimp fajitas. Can't you just see those little shrimp shaking their fajitas?

I consider myself a suthin' girl, but because I am a fat suthin' girl I drink unsweetened tea. Come to think of it, I don't particularly like ice in my drinks. Now does that come from my father who was born in Chicago or from drinking my margaritas up (without ice) - as the real Mexicans do? Maybe I'm a Mexican at heart. Looking at the heart may be the answer.

Buck Pennington said...

Hmmm...the first thought that comes to my little mind is Tevye... but I digress before I've even started!

Everyone has their traditions; some mate up well with "conventional" traditions, others don't.

But...sweet tea. A hot button of mine. It's the only way to drink iced tea; trying to mix sugar into iced tea after the fact is a fool's mission. The sweet tea tradition apparently ends at the Texas - NM border because NO restaurant around here has it. Yet, you get it if you go 30 miles or so to the east. It's definitely a Suthern thang... more's the pity!