Hot Out of the Irish Oven

“Some breads, like the baguette, are immediately seductive. But brown bread is different. It isn’t fussy or needy. It doesn’t require an artist’s touch (actually, the less you handle the dough, the better) and, for some, can take time to love.”

This line is from a draft of a story that just came out in the 5th anniversary issue of AFAR magazine: A Slice of Life: Ireland’s Brown Bread. I’m thrilled that my exploration of one of Ireland’s classic dishes — one that speaks so much about the culture — made it into such a stellar issue with such exceptional photographs.

As we all know with print magazines, space is limited — and a couple of my personal favorite lines didn’t make it into the final draft (like the one above). One thing I love about brown bread is that people don’t automatically love it — sometimes it’s the third or fourth time of trying it, of taking a first bite in the right circumstances (alongside a bowl of chowder on a rainy day) or watching salted Irish butter melt into a slice while it’s still warm. There is something particularly Irish about this: it isn’t flashy, it doesn’t demand attention, it is quietly confident in its quality.

Here are a couple more thoughts on brown bread that didn’t quite make it into the final story, but might further explain why I’m drawn to this particular bread.

“If the baguette is the prom queen, brown bread is the valedictorian that grows on you over time.”

“The farmhouse-style table is inviting, unfussy. It is all so understated and welcoming—much like the Irish themselves.”

The August/September issue of AFAR hit newsstands on July 15!




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