Soda bread recipe

A family recipe for Irish soda bread.
A family recipe for Irish soda bread.

My immigration story began in a tiny village named Rehi on the western coast of Ireland, where some of my relatives still reside. Over the course of the late 1800s and early 1900s, my maternal great-grandparents and paternal great-grandfather made their way over from Ireland, fleeing revolution and starvation, to start a new life in Boston. When I was ten, several of my relatives who remained in Ireland came to visit my grandfather, speaking in accents only comprehensible to some of us and bearing an old Lynch family recipe for soda bread. Soda bread became popular in Ireland during the 1800s as a result of extreme famine and poverty, since the bread was filling, lasted for days, and required very few ingredients to make. My grandfather’s cousin gave a lengthy bread-baking tutorial and scribbled down a recipe full of imprecise measurements, just how the bread is made back in the motherland. Today, only my mother continues to make the bread for every occasion she can and I know my time is fast running out before I get roped into the tradition, too. It is difficult to put soda bread, which I associate with special family occasions, became popular by virtue of being a cheap way to fill hungry stomachs. Though my maturing taste buds have played a role in the way I’ve grown fond of the bread, it also makes me think about family, both past and present.

Place(s): Ireland, Boston
Year: 1890

– Catherine Galliford

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more