Until recently, the only time I ever made Irish Soda Bread was with the creator of our family's Top Secret recipe himself. I believe I was about 10 years old when my grandfather showed me how to make his famed loaf - though at the time I had no idea the value of the information being relayed to me.
Every year on Saint Patrick's Day my Papa would make Irish Soda Bread for his daughters, other family members, friendly neighbors, unfriendly neighbors, the priests and nuns at church, his grandkid's school teachers - just about anyone who wanted one. By the time he died that list had grown pretty long and it seemed everyone in the neighborhood wanted a slice of his delectable Irish Soda Bread.
I'm not sure if you're familiar with Irish Soda Bread, but boy, would you just LOVE my grandfather's recipe. The thing is, unless you come over for a slice, you'll never enjoy a single bite of it. I'm not trying to be rude or anything, but...
It's a secret.
I'm forbidden to share.
I know, I know - with my job of photographing and sharing every single thing I make/eat on a daily basis, it's hard to believe I'm keeping this recipe locked up. I'll admit, it was extremely difficult to obey my mother's demand at first, but now, I get why it has to stay secret.
You see, I made my first loaf of Irish Soda Bread this past weekend, while I was home all alone. It was weird, standing there in my own kitchen getting the ingredients I needed all lined up and ready to go. It was even stranger to look at the photocopied recipe page my mom had mailed me a few days before, seeing my grandfather's familiar handwriting in the margins - something I haven't glimpsed in so long.
In that moment I got it. And I knew I'd never break the promise I'd given to Mom to keep our family's recipe a secret.
For that hour in the kitchen I could almost feel Papa leaning over me telling me, no, mix this first! I could feel again, how he showed me to grease the pan "the only proper way" it could be done. My grandfather has been gone over 10 years, but in that hour he was alive.
Today it seems every thought we have, feeling we experience, place we go gets overshared - whether it's on a blog, Twitter feed or Facebook status. This once, my lips are sealed...that recipe will never make it out into the wide world web. Why?
Cause it's family and it's treasured. And both of those things must be protected.
Do you have a secret family recipe? Would you ever share it?
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