St. Patrick’s Day! Vegan Irish Soda Bread PLUS An Angry Irish Rant!

March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I’m half Irish, and also generally hungry, so to celebrate these things I decided to bake up a quick loaf of vegan Irish Soda Bread this St. Patrick’s Day afternoon, using this simple and excellent recipe from Happy Herbivore. This was my first time making Irish Soda Bread, and I was pleased to discover how easy it was! I mean, c’mon—a bread you barely have to knead and that doesn’t have to rise at all? Compared to the other breads I’ve made in the past, this one was a cinch. And very tasty in the end, too! Here are some photos of my bread-baking adventure. First, the loaf right after it came out of the oven…

Then here’s what it looked liked sliced in half…

And finally, what it looked like sliced into, well, slices…

I was very happy with how this came out, and would definitely make it again, even for non-St.-Patrick’s-Day occasions!

Lastly, in further celebration of this Irish holiday, I thought I’d close today’s post with a little Irish rant. Did anyone else see this ludicrous article in the New York Times earlier this week? It’s so ludicrous that I almost feel that even criticizing it is giving it too much credit, but it feels wrong to let such idiocy go unchallenged (and I haven’t heard any other mention of it on the food blogosphere yet).

For those who haven’t read the article, the author’s basic argument is that, since plants have just as much life as animals do, there can be no justification for choosing to eat plants rather than animals (as the author puts it, “If eating a tofu dog [is] as much a crime against life as eating bratwurst, then pass the bratwurst, please”). These conclusions are disturbing and depressing, for many reasons. I was mostly shocked by how much the author overlooks in her assessment of veg*nism; some examples:

  • First, eating animals involves a significantly greater amount of cruelty than eating plants. (I don’t necessarily mean in principle—I’m only concerned with our current practices of meat production, which are unquestionably more barbaric in their treatment of animals than any of our ways of farming vegetables). I think I’m in agreement with most veg*ns when I say that what I want in my diet is to avoid cruelty, not (merely) to preserve life.
  • Second, eating animals includes with it the killing of all the plants needed to feed and fatten those animals. So even if you were simply concerned with merely preserving life, you’d preserve a lot more life overall if you just ate plants than if you ate plant-eating animals.
  • Third, our current practices of meat production are in my opinion inherently unsustainable, whereas sustainable fruit, grain, and vegetable farming is much more realistic. These more global considerations should figure into our reflections on preserving life just as much as concerns on the individual level.
  • Fourth, there are plenty of other reasons to be veg*n, and it betrays an astounding amount of moral deafness that the author feels justified in her decision to eat meat by the failure of this argument alone.

I could go on, but I don’t want to get carried away. And I did feel some small consolation in reading this article: namely, that if arguments in favor of eating animals are getting this obviously stupid, then maybe that’s a sign that we’ll soon all realize that there are in fact no good reasons to eat animals. And that’s something I can drink to. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Until we eat again,



  1. Mmmm, bread! Looks delicious, though I’m not a fan of raisins.

    In regards to the article, I agree with you. The way I see it, we don’t have to eat meat to survive while fruits and vegetables are more crucial to our diet. Therefore, I don’t see the point in raising and torturing animals just for the single purpose of giving us food when we have other options. Should we be under a zombie apocalypse or something and meat was our only means of food, then I’d be fine with eating animals. However, currently, we can make by on our own with other food, so why throw animals into the mix when we don’t need to?

    Eh, haters gonna hate. I’m just kind of curious where she came up with the idea of the tofu dog.

    • Wait, so does this mean you’re 100% vegetarian now? Because, despite what your shirt says, bacon is not actually a vegetable.

      Also, I like your idea of a ‘vegetarian except in the zombie apocalypse’ diet. I think maybe I’ll start making that qualification myself.

      • But you were the one who gave me that shirt! Are you saying that you were lying to me? Shame on you!

        In all seriousness, though, I am working my way to not eating bacon anymore. I mean, I barely eat it as it is, but when I have an opportunity or it’s in a meal that I want at a restaurant, I do so. Also, I’m definitely not 100% vegetarian anyway because I love seafood way too much. I guess this may make me sound hypocritical, but I’m just not prepared to give up seafood. Not yet anyways.

  2. […] been making a lot of soda bread recently (one of my soda bread adventures was chronicled here, in case you missed it). One recipe that I’ve become particularly fond of is this one for Oat […]

  3. […] blogged before about my forays into making Irish soda bread at home, and today I’m here to continue that tradition. For […]

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