I’m a strong believer in the phrase “Family is everything”. They will always love you, encourage you, and will be there for you when no one else is. I also vehemently believe that the term “family” does not have to mean blood relation. Some of the closest people to me are dear friends who I love even more than those who share my DNA.
I’m bringing this up is because my daughter recently did a Girl Scout project about her ancestry. While working on it with her, it got me thinking about my own ancestry and the true meaning of family.
For those who know me, you know that growing up I was extremely close to all four of my grandparents. My maternal grandparents were the quiet ones who showed love through cooking a hearty Sunday meal, or taking us out in the backyard to look at my papa’s vegetable garden. My paternal grandparents, however, were loving individuals who opened my eyes to the beauty of culture, travel, and simple pleasures such as that of a Beatles record or a game of cribbage. I vividly remember days spent with all four of these beautiful people who had such a large impact on the person I am today.
With that said, I’m very sad to report that none of my grandparents are on this earth today. Luckily, my three children got to meet most of them, and their stories live on throughout pictures, recipes, and verbal anecdotes. Therefore, I’m happy to share with you below some recent photos and a recipe I discovered & shared with my daughter for her project.
My mother’s father in WW II with his picture of my grandmother always close by
My paternal grandfather in the 1940’s. He had a wonderful smile 🙂
My paternal grandmother as a teenager: such a beauty
My Nana in her younger years. She was so beautiful.
My great-great grandfather who was born in southern England and immigrated to Canada in the mid-1800’s. Anyone who has ever seen my father will know that the resemblance between him and his great-grandfather is uncanny.
Irish Soda Bread
This recipe is from my maternal grandmother, Nora . She was born in America but her heritage was 100% Irish. Her family originated in the cities of Cork & Killarney in Southern Ireland.
- 4 cups flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp sugar
- ½ cup raisins
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp caraway seeds
- ½ cup butter
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Gently add remaining ingredients and once dough is formed, turn out onto a floured surface. Carefully knead dough and shape into a round loaf. Bake in 350 degree pre-heated oven (on a parchment lined baking sheet) for 45-50 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.
**Note: be sure to place an “x” on the dough with a very sharp knife before baking. This represents the cross, and the purpose is to protect your household. Although my family is traditionally Roman Catholic, it’s a nice way to honor the tradition even if you do not share the exact beliefs**
In the future I can only hope and pray that my children (& grandchildren) will think of me as fondly as I remember my grandparents.