The DeWines are all very proud of their Irish heritage.
Two DeWine brothers left County Galway, Ireland during the potato famine in the 1840s and came to the United States via the port of New Orleans. One settled in Knoxville and the other, Denis, settled in Greene County. Denis is buried at St. Paul Cemetery in Yellow Springs as well as his son Thomas, and several children, including George, who is Mike’s grandfather.
In the ’60s, Mike’s parents went to Ireland to see if they could find any DeWines still living there. They found no DeWines, but they did find Devines in County Galway. Mike’s dad was sure they were his “cousins” — they looked just like his grandfather! He invited J.J. and Mona and their daughter Sally Anne Devine to visit us in Ohio. We became very good friends and we have kept in touch with them over the years.
As a family we have always loved to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. My kids still laugh when they think of the green oatmeal I used to make them for breakfast to celebrate the day. Though I don’t make that any longer, I do enjoy making Irish soda bread. Irish soda bread is simple to make and quick, because it uses soda to rise instead of yeast, so you can mix it and have it in the oven in no time. It’s good with a cup of tea, and it makes a wonderful meal when served with a soup or stew.
Years ago Mike and I travelled through the Irish countryside and stayed at bed and breakfasts. We really enjoyed picking up a loaf of brown soda bread. It was hearty and good and, with some cheese, a wonderful lunch. I still like to make brown soda bread, as well as a slightly sweeter white bread that is moist and full of raisins.
Mona Devine’s Irish Brown Breakfast Scones
1 cup whole meal (whole wheat) flour
1 cup all purpose flour
½ stick butter
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
Sift flour and salt into bowl. Add whole meal flour and mix. Add butter and rub into flour. Add soda and mix. Add milk and mix to a loose sticky dough. Form into ball. Turn onto floured board. Flatten out into circle about ¾ inch thick. Cut into halves, quarters, eighths, like pie. Place on floured tin or greased cookie sheet. Brush tops with milk. Sprinkle with sugar if you like. Bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes. Serve warm, split and buttered.
Marcia’s Irish Soda Bread
2 cups milk
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
4 cups flour
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 cup dark raisins
2 teaspoons melted butter
2 teaspoons sugar
Sift dry ingredients together. Add butter, caraway seeds, and raisins. Mix lightly with fork and add milk mixed with vinegar and stir until blended. Do not over beat.
Put in large (10” diameter 3” deep) greased round cake pan. Pour melted butter over top of dough and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake 375 degrees for 10 minutes and 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, Yellow Springs native and guest columnist.