The Irish of March
Typical March—waking up to a dusting of snow and a chaser of sun that melts it all before my first cup of coffee. Nothing cinematic like the 1993 “Storm of the Century” that blanketed half of NJ with 20-30 inches of snow.
Shakespeare’s “Beware the Ides of March” falls off the lips of many in March. The worlds are spoken by a soothsayer who warns Caesar of his impending doom (assassination) at the hands of his fellow Senate members—among them his friend Brute. Before
Shakespeare, however, the Ides were simply a marker of time used to reference the lunar phases, along with the Kalends (first day of the month) and the Nones— somewhere around the 5th or 6th of March.
March 6, 1912, is worth noting. It’s the day the Oreo cookie was introduced to the world. Arguably, it’s one of the best cookies to light up the brain’s pleasure center, and yesterday was National Oreo Day. As usual, I’m a day late and a cookie short, but there’s still time to make up for that. My bookshelf includes BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts by the fabulous Stella Parks, self-described “CIA baking nerd and pastry wizard.” As house baker, I’m responsible for keeping the cookie jar full. If you want to join me in making your Oreos, here’s Stella’s recipe: https://www.seriouseats.com/bravetart-homemade-oreo-style-cookies-recipe.
March isn’t all cookies, it’s also daffodils blooming and animals emerging from hibernation. It’s days of shamrock, beer, and Irish Soda Bread. I’ll be toasting St. Patty’s Day (also Steph’s birthday), with Smithwick’s Irish Ale, my personal favorite for its malty sweetness. There’s nothing like bread and beer to get one through another day in March, full of the promise of spring, yet still holding on to the chill of winter. The kind of day best described by Charles Dickens as “one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”