Cheryl put her talents as a cook and a journalist to good use for the book, learning recipes and family stories from her relatives in Singapore. She has asked us to share a family recipe today in that spirit of family and cooking.
My recipe is a simple one, and one I've shared before. My Nan's Irish Soda Bread is still one of my very favorite recipes and it's one that I learned when I was first starting to cook, back in my tiny college kitchen, with a crappy temperamental and bakeware that had seen finer days.
The first time I made Nan's bread was a complete failure -- but it had nothing to do with the quality of my kitchen. No, in my haste to copy the recipe from the e-mail my aunt had sent me, I had written 450 degrees instead of 350.
Miraculously, the bread wasn't too burnt, just hard as a rock. A big "350" is now scrawled across the top of the recipe in my notebook, so I never forget.
Nan's Irish Soda Bread:
4 c white flour
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp salt
1 heaping tsp baking powder
1/4 stick butter broken into tiny pieces
optional: 1 c soaked raisins (I never use these -- always had to pick them out as a kid)
1 2/3 c buttermilk
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
Mix the first 5 ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix the wet ingredients separately with the cream of tartar and baking soda, then add slowly to the flour mixture.
Knead gently and shape into a large round loaf.
Place on an oiled cookie sheet, cut a 4" X on the top, and brush with beaten egg.
Bake 60-70 mins at 350 F. Cool for as long as you bear to wait (I can usually only wait about 10 minutes!).
Serve with butter and enjoy!
So, raise a glass to Cheryl's success with the book.
Go home and cook a meal with your family tonight. (or stop at your favorite locally owned bookstore and pick up Cheryl's book, like I am)
Call your favorite grandparent, aunt or uncle and ask for a family recipe. Share one of your own with your son, daughter, niece or nephew.
I hope I'm fortunate enough to have an adventure similar to Cheryl's with my Korean birth family some day. In 2007, I learned the basics of Korean cooking from the cook at Ae Ran Won home for unwed birthmothers. The stress of everything else going on with my birth family meant I didn't get the chance to cook with my halmonie and ohmma and learn from them. Hopefully I'll get that chance someday.
Update: here's a running list from Twitter of recipes posted so far: