More Fish For La Vigilia, Or:
Every year come December I get requests for the "Seven Fishes Dinner," from people who want menus and symbolisms. Alas, there isn't a single answer:
On the one hand, what's available varies, and therefore so do the dishes.
On the other, the wealth of the people preparing the meal also has an impact on what's served: The authors of Altamura Antichi Sapori note that …
More Healthy Recipes For (Gasp!) Lent
Lent has begun, and though few observe it in this modern age, it's supposed to be a itme of spiritual renewal during which people renounce rich foods and meats, not as a penance, but to show respect for Jesus's sacrifice on the Cross, and to share the hardships the poor have to deal with year round. As one of the nuns who served John Paul II observed, for the devout Lent is actually a period of j…
The Holidays Approach!
Italian menu suggestions and ideas for the holiday season. Italian Christmas menus.
Felice Pesah -- Italian Passover Recipes
People rarely associate Judaism with Italy, probably because the Rome has hosted the seat of the Catholic Church for close to 2000 years. Jews arrived long before Peter and Paul, however. Indeed, Jewish traders built one of the first (if not the first) synagogues outside of the Middle East in Ostia Antica during the second century BC. Much was alas lost in WWII, but Italian Jewish communities are slowly rebuilding, and maintaining the traditions, which differ in many ways from the Ashkenazim.
Italian Purim Recipes
Italy has a long Jewish tradition, with many dishes to celebrate Queen Esther's courage.
Auguri per San Valentino! Or, Happy Valentine's Day!
Valentino was, according to legend, a Christian priest who was consigned to a Roman noble by the Emperor Claudius. He cured the noble's daughter's blindness, at which point the family converted and Claudius had them all executed. Valentino first, and on the eve of his execution he wrote the girl a letter, signing it "from your Valentine." After...
Fish For La Vigilia
Many parts of Italy celebrate Christmas Eve with a fish-based dinner, a tradition that lives on in immigrant communities as the Feast of the Seven Fishes. Here are some Italian ideas for the meal.
Auguri Per Hanukkah!
Though people wouldn't think so, given the presence of the Vatican, Italy has always had a significant Jewish population -- the urban Roman Jewish community at the time of Tiberius (14-37 AD) is estimated to have been 60,000 strong, and many Jews fleeing persecutions elsewhere in Europe settled in the Peninsula during the Renaissance; Ferrara, Venice, and Rome, among other cities had flowering communities.
Italian Thanksgiving Ideas
Italians don't celebrate Thanksgiving per se, perhaps because the growing season never stops: even in the midst of winter there's something to harvest, broccoli raab in the south, or kale and cabbage in the north. Of course Italians are happy to celebrate any holiday, and here are some ideas to add to a Thanksgiving meal.
La Vigilia di Yom Kippur
For the vigil of Yom Kippur it's customary to serve an abundant, unspiced meal. To break the fast, sweets with coffee or tea, followed shortly thereafter by a light meal.
Il Natale Toscano
A traditional Tuscan Christmas dinner, with a hearty soup followed by boiled meats, roasts, and much much more.
Il Natale in Dalmazia
Dalmatia, in what is now Ex Yugoslavia, was once Venetian, and many of the people were Italian. They were forced to leave during World War II, but their descendents are maintaining the traditions.
La Vigilia Napoletana
The Neapolitan Christmas tradition is one of the richest and most glorious in Italy, beginning with a fish-based Christmas Eve feast and continuing through Santo Stefano, the 26th.
Il Natale in Altamura
Around Altamura, a town in the mountainous highlands of Puglia, they say, "Quanne venue Natale for a fore u castagnére" -- Come Christmas, the Castagnaro stands outside, meaning that it's the time of year when those who harvest the chestnuts from the trees in the mountains come down into town to set up their braziers and stands. And then there's...