March brings with it the hope of spring, at least in New York (and the nagging fear that we could still have one more big snow storm), and all that comes with the new season — crocuses peeping out of the earth, nesting robins, and overeager fashion-lovers prematurely donning sandals outdoors.
For me, March has always meant the start of Good Bread Season: Irish Soda Bread in March, followed by Easter Bread in March or April. In my family, my mom made these breads, two of my favorite foods since the start of my solid food-eating life, only for their requisite holidays, St. Patrick’s Day and Easter. Irish Soda Bread never reappeared as Christmas Bread or Happy Birthday Bread, and Easter Bread was never reincarnated as Sorry Your Hamster Died Bread or Just Because Bread. I accepted that it must be this way to preserve tradition and make those holidays really special. And with Irish Soda Bread, since it’s a traditional Irish food, it should be served only on the one day of the year when my family celebrated its partially Irish heritage.
But as I’ve grown older, I’ve wondered: Is Irish Soda Bread a traditional Irish food?