Dear Gentle Readers,
There are so many reasons not to diet nor to even try in March. It’s easy for me to justify almost anything but dieting when we’re 13 months into the Pandemic? No. Say it loudly. No. This post is about celebrating what’s always sweet and special about March.
In March I’m talking about Girl Scout Cookie Sale Month; International Women’s Day (3/8); National Pi Day (3/12); St. Patrick’s Day (3/17); French Language (3/20) & French Bread Days (3/21); National Cocktail Day ( 3/24) followed by Passover (3/27).
#BE PREPARED. NEVER PASS A BOX OF THIN MINTS (March)
There are 1.7 million Girl Scouts in America who want to sell you a box of cookies. A Brownie pin still lives in my jewelry box and my girls were also Scouts. I was often a leader. Every March the cookie box inventory hung out in my garage until depletion! That month was worth 5 pounds. I’ve never passed a Thin Mints box that didn’t call my name.
#CHOOSE TO CHALLENGE. #GENERATION EQUALITY. IWD2021 (3/8)
Although IWD is an international celebration, America has been late to the party. Happily more American women are now joining our worldwide sisterhood to commemorate the cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of women. This year’s theme was “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.”
I always try to honor the Day in some manner. In 2011, while still living in Henderson (Nevada), I invited my talented and amazing besties for an IWD dinner party. In Boulder this year I made a delicious Blood Orange Cake filled with Sea Salt Roasted Nuts.* By adding club soda to Lillet Blanc, tossing in an orange twist and filling a rocks glass with ice, I turned an apéritif into a dessert cocktail. (*Hey Gant gang, There’s no one to taste test my food. Will be so thrilled to be home and cook for you.)
IF IT AIN’T BROGUE, DON’T FIX IT (3/17)
I’ve not a smidgen of blood – red cells, white cells, platelets, or plasma – that runs Irish. My Mom’s people were Welch coal miners. Everyday they’d go down into the mines, their lunch buckets filled with Cornish pasties. They are savory pocket-shaped and baked shortcrust pastry filled with beef, potatoes, Swedes (rutabagas) and onions. Every Christmas Eve our family would feast to their memory with pasty, raspberry sherbet, fruit salad and Saffron biscuits.
But I digress. Next Wednesday is St. Patrick’s Day, a time for we Irish wannabes to make merry and be spontaneously rambunctious. (Is that even possible this year?) Every March 17th, no matter where I’ve landed for the winter, I try to bake Mrs. Frings’ Irish Soda Bread, a recipe I found in Sweet Paul’s magazine years ago. I’m always reminded how plain and authentic this bread tastes. While best on the day it’s made, toast it for Day 2 and 3’s breakfast.
Don’t forget to slash the top, cutting it about a half-inch deep to make a cross pattern. That slash will either ward off the devil, bless the bread or let heat penetrate into the thickest part of the bread. Since I forgot the almighty slash this year, if the devil comes knocking at my door, I’ll know Why.
So, my friends, that about covers March. I’m passing National Pi Day festivities over to my Accountant friend and numbers guru, Donna Grauer. While I may know Pie, she’s an expert on Pi. Don’t even get her started on Prime Numbers. For me, every day is french language day. After more years of french studies than I will admit, I’m still waiting for the ‘breakthrough.” I’ll pair French bread with Dorie’s Slow-Cooker Brisket with Carrots and Sweet Potatoes for Passover on March 27th. And, there goes March!
“MARCH 4th, THE ONLY DAY THAT IS ALSO A SENTENCE.” J.Green
MRS. FRINGS’ IRISH SODA BREAD from Sweet Paul magazine by Staffer Paul Vitale
3-4 cups all-purpose flour, dough should be sticky
1 stick of butter (8 TBS) at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 lb. raisins
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp.baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 and 1/2 cup buttermilk
- Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Mix butter into dry mixture by hand until clumps disappear.
- Slowly add in the buttermilk by hand until you can form one big clump of dough.
- Place in 8 or 9 inch round, springform or cast iron pan that’s been coated with butter and flour.
- Bake until deep golden brown at 400 degrees for 50-60 minutes, checking at the 40 minute mark. (My soda bread took 45 minutes.)
- Remove from oven, place on rack and drape with damp cloth until cool.
- Slice and enjoy with Orange Marmalade (my fave) or Irish butter!
Lillet French Aperitif with an Orange Twist, a favorite of Liz Berg, That Skinny Chick Can Bake Blog
4 ounces Lillet Blanc
4 ounces club soda
- Fill rocks glass with ice. Add Lillet Blanc and then club soda. Stir to mix
- Serve with an orange twist.