Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Anna Elmore's' Recipe
It's so deceptively easy. 

1.    Mix together 3 three cups of flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 4 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 cup of raisins (and all this time I thought it was currants). 

2.  Beat together 1 egg, one and a half cups of milk (not skim), and 3 Tbs Crisco.

3.  Combine Nos. 1 and 2.  Pour into a meatloaf pan and bake for 45-60 minutes at 350 degrees.  

There it is.  Richard's grandmother's Irish Soda Bread recipe.  It mocks me.

Step one was easy, but step two gives me pause.  Crisco.  Really?  Crisco scares me.  There's a warning on the package which reads "will catch fire if overheated," which looks suspiciously similar to the warning label on lighter fluid.  This doesn't bode well; I am putting it into a 350 degree oven afterall.  The label states further that "Damage or serious burns may result."  Is this before or after I ingest it?  Given that it apparently can be "left opened in the cupboard for up to a year after opening", I'm not so sure.

I also don't have a meatloaf pan.  I have a clay banana bread pan that I got from Pampered Chef four years ago and have never used.  I don't see any reason why that won't work, but I'll know after 30 minutes when I pull it out of the oven to check on it or when the Crisco spontaneously ignites and turns that clay pan into some kind of improvised explosive device.

The baking part of baking is the worst.  For me it's like what a skydiver must feel like after he jumps and is simply free falling until hopefully his parachute opens.  It is all simply out of my control and there's nothing to do but wait.  It's either going to rise and turn golden brown, or the parachute won't open and it's just a big splat of mess.  Same thing.  Sort of.  Except the skydiver knows his fate after about 3 minutes; I have to wait 60.  It's interminable. 

It's finally over.  And I didn't have to wait 60 minutes.  After 50 minutes it was tall and golden brown enough not to get greedy.  I stuck a bamoo skewer it in, and praise be, it came out clean--without any remnant or trace of gooey putty.  Was it possible?  Had I succeeded?  Look at those bad boys:

Best test yet.  All four pans are empty.  Devoured by the most exacting of food critics--my children.  Perhaps like the Red Sox beating the Yankees after being down by 3 games in the 2004 ALCS, I have broken the curse.  Redemption is a wonderful thing.


  1. What's next? Solution to the Mideast Conflict?

    You can do ANYTHING!


  2. The little loaf you generously gave us was SENSATIONAL with the new boujalais (Does that look right? I can't spell.) we were ddrinking. DELICIOUS!

  3. I have this theory that you have to offend an Irish person for the recipe to work...

  4. Dear Rhonda--you are apparently on to something. Those little loaves rocked. Of course my in-laws still aren't speaking to me . . . :)


  5. yum yum yum! May make these w the girls this weekend!