Saint Patrick’s Day is a HUGE celebration in my house. It always has been since I was a child. I am going to share with you a family recipe you may want to use. Now before I tell you what it is, I have to give you a bit of a back story because I am a writer, and there is always a story in something.
I was born Eileen Ann Daley.
Mercedes Montgomery came about after I did a comedy song that had some airplay. From there I ended up doing call ins to radio shows and was always introduced under that name, Mercedes Montgomery. The American Country Radio Network said I was funny and charming. Who would have thought that? They asked me to come on board with them where I hosted multiple radio shows under the name Mercedes Montgomery and took on a position as Vice President of Promotions. From there I landed at CATZ Radio and worked as a Program Director and on-air personality. During my tenure there both I and the station won multiple awards. I next landed at Clear Channel Radio and within a few years was sitting on Music Row doing Traffic for Nashville. Music Row and Radio… that had been my dream but I always wanted to write a book, so I did. Last Year March 31, 2014 my very first novel came out and it made sense to use the name so many people now knew me by, Mercedes Montgomery.
The point of this long diatribe is, my real name is Eileen Ann Daley. I am Irish. I identify as Irish. I was raised in a very Irish household. My father had the Irish flag and our family’s crest always hung inside our home. As a small child I was constantly submerged into my families, history, culture, language, and beliefs. This is so important for a child. All children need to know where they come from and who they are. Without that identity, there is emptiness and a loss. The greatest gift my father gave me was my pride in my culture.
When people ask what are you? I say I’m Irish.
I am NOT 100% Irish though. I just never learned about the other cultures in my family history. They were forgotten or brushed aside for various reasons.
I love research and genealogy. I have been able to track my ancestors back to their boats. The Voss’ came from Germany; The Daley’s and Duff’s came from Ireland, but the Goff’s I have no idea.
Charles Goff was my father’s grandfather. He was born in March of 1883. He never had a birth certificate. He said he was taken away from his family when he was 5 years old with other children he was not related to. He was taken to a place by a woman he had never met before that he was told to call his Aunt Frances. Aunt Frances was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen he told my grandmother. That’s why he gave my grandmother the middle name Frances.
Aunt Frances took him to a place where he was told he could not stay because he was too different. He was adoptable. He and a few other boys were then brought to an orphanage in Harrisburg, PA. This would have been around 1888.
He told my grandmother that he was beaten every day while at the orphanage; again it was because he was too different. He and another boy ran away. They ended up at the ship yards in Philadelphia, where he began to work. He met my great-grandmother Celestine (Stella) Faurbach there. Her family came from Germany. I was told he always pronounced her last name Fire-back but it was pronounced F-hour-bach according to my grandmother. She died after giving birth to my grandma.
I would love to someday know who Charles Goff was. Where he came from and what his story was. How or why was he given away, where was he taken to, and why was he different? I don’t think I’ll ever know. I’ve tried multiple times to find anything I could out about him. That part of my ancestry is gone forever, so when people ask, what are you? I say what I know.
Tá mé hÉireann – I’m Irish
Okay I promised you a family recipe. My favorite bread is called Brown Bread. It is one of the easiest things you can make!
You will need whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, salt, baking soda, buttermilk and unsalted butter. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Take out a cookie sheet and dust it with flour. Next take a bowl and add 1 tsp of salt, and 1 ½ tsps of baking soda, 1 3/4 cups of all purpose flour, and 2 ¼ cups of whole wheat flour. You will want to stir and mix that really well. Get rid of any clumps so it is nice and smooth.
Next, melt 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Take 2 cups of buttermilk and shake it really well. Pour the melted butter into the flour mixture and add the shaken buttermilk. Now mix this with your hands. Make sure the dough is moist and the dough holds together. This should take about 1 minute.
At this point you should lightly flour a clean surface to work on and place your dough on it. You will want to knead this for about another minute. Next, make this to be a nice smooth ball. Once you have this you will want to flatten it so that it has roughly a 6 to 7 inch diameter and is about 2 inches deep. Pick it up and place it on your lightly floured baking sheet.
Take a sharp knife and cut an X into the top of it from corner to corner about ½ inch deep.
Place it into your pre-heated oven and let it cook for 35 -40 minutes. Knock on the top of the bread when you pull it out. If it sounds hollow, it is done.
Next place it on a rack to cool completely.
This is SO IMPORTANT
DO NOT CUT IT ….
Wait 2 hours to let it completely cool before you cut it and serve it. If you do not wait the full 2 hours, your bread will crumble and fall apart.
If you try this and make it, let me know what you think! I absolutely love it and will be serving it tomorrow with our traditional dinner.