Colonial Cookery and Customs for Kids at the Wilton Historical Society This Month: Irish Soda Bread


Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, the Colonial Cookery and Customs for Kids program at the Wilton Historical Society on Saturday, March 25 from 11:00 – 12:30 will be making Irish Soda Bread. Soda bread was introduced in the early 1800’s in England, rapidly became popular in Ireland, and then in America. According to the Society for the Preservation of Soda Bread, “All recipes for traditional soda bread contain flour, baking soda, sour milk (buttermilk) and salt. That’s it!!!” — which makes a plain daily bread. Museum Educator Lola Chen will be showing the children how to make a more festive version, which includes raisins and butter, in individual loaves. She will also be talking about the cross on soda bread which has several explanations. Legend has it that folks did it to “let the devil out” while it’s baking for good luck, and others say that it made it easy to divide into 4 pieces. It was also a symbol for a cross during Christian holidays.

The Colonial Cookery and Customs for Kids workshop at the Wilton Historical Society teaches kids a “reciept” (recipe) used in the Connecticut region. While the food is prepared, they hear about Colonial manners, morals and way of life. The monthly workshops feature relatively simple dishes made with local, seasonal ingredients, adapted for modern kitchens. All participants will sample their own cooking and take home recipe cards – as well as any leftovers! The children will learn how a Colonial kitchen would have operated, in order to appreciate the modern conveniences we take for granted. Previous sessions have made bannock cakes, pease porridge, pickles, an amulet of green peas, apple tansey, fairy butter, pumpkin bread, cranberry shortbread, New Year’s “cakes”, and New England chowder. Suggested for ages 6 – 12.

Members: $10; Non-members $15. Space is limited — please register by contacting or call 203-762-7257. You can also register online here:



Did You Know?

“Bread soda was introduced in the early 1800s and it suddenly meant that people who didn’t have an oven — and virtually nobody had an oven then — could make soda bread. They cooked the bread in what’s called a bastible — a big cast-iron pot with a lid on it that would have been put right onto the coals or onto the turf fire. The great thing about soda is that it was not so perishable and it would have been relatively inexpensive. And they would have had buttermilk from the cows [old-fashioned buttermilk is a by-product of making butter] and they would have been growing wheat, so they would have had flour.” Rory O ‘Connell, Irish food expert, co-founder of the renowned Ballymaloe Cookery School. Interview with Megan O. Steintrager, Epicurious