St. Patrick’s Day is a pretty big holiday in my family. My mom’s solidly Irish and so each year, for as long as I can remember, we’ve made Irish soda bread. After years of sharing it with classmates and friends, I’ve realized it’s quite an acquired taste, but my aunt, uncle, and grandfather still expect one every year. It’s the one time of year I get to make one of my favorite foods. I make it last, though. It only gets made once a year.
After visiting with my aunt and uncle last night, I was ready to get cooking today. I’m not much of a cook, and without an oven at my apartment at school, I’m pretty much limited to making Lean Cuisine pot pies in the microwave. I ran to the supermarket, grabbed what we didn’t have at home, and woke up early to make the dough and let it bake.
Last St. Patrick’s Day was quite eventful. Stressful, too. I remember it vividly. It was a Thursday and all the professors let us out early to rush to Mitten Hall and grab seats hours before the biggest basketball game of the year. It was the warmest day of the year so far, high into the 70s in mid-March, but it didn’t matter. Everyone was inside watching the Owls. The school set up a huge projection screen and trucked in mountains of food to watch the Owls take on cross-state rival Penn State in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The seedings were tight and as the hour of tip approached, it looked closer and closer.
I have a bad habit of wringing my hands when games get tight and this one was no exception. With a second left on the clock, Juan Fernandez put up the ugliest, most-contested, off-balanced shot I have ever seen and will ever see in my life, and somehow the ball found the net and gave the Owls the win. To say the place erupted would be the biggest understatement, and I felt like I was courtside, although the team was thousands of miles away in Phoenix. I came back to my apartment ecstatic, and had a celebratory piece of soda bread.
Today, with all the doors and windows opened up, it was the perfect day to make soda bread. I had four of them to make, so it took up the majority of my day. Thankfully, while they were baking, I could play with Herbie, watch the Big East tournament, and pack for the weekend. Hopefully, this St. Patrick’s Day will be just as eventful for the Owls, which would mean a second-round game in the Big Dance. Either way, there’ll be plenty of soda bread to go around, win or lose.