Do Dip, Don’t Waste

During our St. Patrick’s Day feast this week, I discovered that Irish soda bread tastes even better when you dip it into the liquid goodness at the bottom of the crockpot that was used to cook the corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, and celery (no recipe to print here: just put in all in the crock pot and cook for 10 hours). I put a bowl of the juicy gravy on the table and dipped and dipped some more. My mom told me this would make my grandmother proud. My paternal grandmother (the Irish one) was the one who would make the Irish soda bread, but it was my maternal grandmother (the Italian one) who would use her bread to soak up or scoop up what remained on her plate. I remember vividly how she would use Italian bread to sop up marinara sauce on the plate or vinaigrette in her salad bowl and she would use a word we assumed to be Italian, pronounced “bon-ya” or “bahn-ya.” Bonya bonya, she’d say, savoring every bite. We believed this meant to “dip” but I’ve been told it sounds similar to an Italian word that means “don’t waste.” Either way, it works. I didn’t take photos of the Irish-American food from the other night, but the photo above shows a bowl that contained spaghetti and meatballs; one piece of Italian bread and that bowl would be cleaned right up.

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