When I was little, my mother had a tea towel with a map of Ireland on it, and the map was crammed with family names so you could find which county your ancestors came from. For St. Patrick’s Day she used to tuck that towel into a basket and fill it with wedges of Irish Soda Bread, but I never cared for the bread—I just liked the game of finding our ancestors.
As a person of Irish heritage, I always feel a little treacherous admitting this, but honestly I don’t really like to drink Guinness. Still, once a year I do consume a bit of Guinness to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day — not in a pint glass, but in Nigella Lawson’s dark, moist Chocolate Guinness Cake. This cake couldn’t be easier to make—it’s a single layer with a crown of fluffy frosting, and you toss it all together on the stove top.
We love to bake a good old-fashioned layer cake, and needless to say we love to eat one too. But the process of baking and decorating a large cake can be time-consuming, and frankly the week-long struggle against the temptation of leftovers isn’t always quite as fun as that initial slice.
In our house we’re not so big on marinating meat, but we love to preseason it. We realize, of course, that this lands us smack in the middle of a food controversy. There are those who would argue that salt will leach the juices out of your meat, and therefore should be left to the last minute. Time and again, however, our experience has proved otherwise. Click through for the science, and for some practical advice about how (and how much) to preseason your meat.