Naperville usually celebrates St. Patrick’s Day in style. But due to COVID-19, the last two St. Patrick’s Day parades have been canceled. Some members of the West Suburban Irish decided to celebrate their own way – by taking matters into their own hands.
“Part of any cultural event is food, based around food. So we thought it would be fun to have a celebration around Irish soda bread,” said Veronica Porter, owner of Ask Aunt V.
Irish Soda Bread Baking Class
Porter and Cynthia Cieckiewicz collaborated to host two Irish soda bread baking classes. Porter’s Ask Aunt V business provides cooking classes inside Liam Brex Showroom. She brought in Cieckiewicz, whose Uptown Soda Bread Co. specializes in her grandmother’s secret recipe.
“Her family recipe she had, she didn’t quite like it, so she changed it how she thought it would be best, and it really was! And that’s the one we baked today,” said Cieckiewicz. “You expect a little bit of dryness and that’s traditional. But sometimes it can go a little overboard. So this one is nice and moist and it holds its shape and its flavor really well.”
Guiding four soda bread newcomers through a recipe so dear to her was a fulfilling experience for Cieckiewicz.
“This woman, my grandmother Mary Collins, she had nothing when she came over,” she said. “She came from a family of nothing except for kids. So to have her recipe live on and bringing joy to others, it’s so gratifying.”
More Irish Foods
As for Porter, it was her job to keep the Irish theme going while the bread was in the oven. Potato leek soup, Irish butter and cheeses, and of course, corned beef. She said soda bread is versatile and goes with lots of different things.
“One of the things I absolutely love with the soda bread is to take the soda bread and create little biscuits or little slices of bread with it, take a little bit of hot mustard or spicy mustard you might like. It’s an absolute delight,” she said.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.
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