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March 2001 Issue
Potatoes and Breads
by Victoria Smith
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Prepare to gain weight. Potatoes and breads ... I'm in Heaven.

Actually, I'm in the next best place, Tir Nan Og, at Brookfield New York, where we will probably be breaking ground this year for our little restaurant and a couple of guest cottages.

Tir Nan Og is the name given by the ancient Irish to a mystical, magical land where nobody ever grows old or dies. Nothing was ever said about weight gain!

I am part Irish; my mother is all Irish. We adopted each other 18 years ago this month, when I was nine. So, I had the benefit of growing up hearing about the Hibernian part of my heritage, and it has been wonderful. The family stories are a delight.

My mother has a cousin named Dorothy, who went to Ireland some years ago, to visit. She stayed with family and friends, and to her surprise, she, who had always thought of herself as Irish, found herself being called "the American."

"Pull that chair close in by the hearth, now. The American is cold."

Some of the older people from the country were resisting the government installation of indoor bathrooms, Dorothy told us later. ("They've been doing that in the fields for years," one old lady said, "And now they want to do it in my house?")

But, Dorothy said that the bread and the tea were so wonderful that you could live on them. So, here are some Irish carbohydrates for you to enjoy, and have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day.

PS. Remember, you can use egg substitutes and margarine in place of eggs and butter. And I used solid vegetable shortening in the following recipes.


Irish Potato Pancakes

  • 1 cup mashed potato
  • 2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 1 tbsp. nutmeg
Mix all ingredients. Beat well. Bake on a greased griddle until brown on both sides. Do not expect these to be like American pancakes, but they have an excellent flavor.
  • Yields: 8-10 pancakes
  • Preparation Time: Not long -- unless you're hungry!


Irish Soda Bread #2

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 4 cups white flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk or sweet milk
Rub the butter into the flour. Add the salt and soda, mix all well together by running the dry ingredients through your fingers. Add the buttermilk (or sweet milk) and stir into a soft dough with a wooden spoon. With your floured hands, knead the dough lightly into a ball and turn out onto a lightly floured baking sheet. Flatten the dough into a circle 1 1/2 inches thick with the palm of your hand. Make a cross in the center with a floured knife. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.
  • Yields: 1 round loaf
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes


Irish Soda Bread #3

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. caraway seed
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
Combine all of the ingredients and knead until well mixed.

Grease a round cake pan, press bread evenly into pan to fill pan. Dough is a little sticky. With a wet knife, cut a large X across the whole top of the bread. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.

  • Yields: 1 round loaf
  • Preparation Time: About an hour, if you don't waste any time

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