The holiday season is coming to an end. Can you believe it? It feels as if I was writing that it was beginning only mere days ago! With only New Years Eve left, and I should disclose that I have never been a fan of that holiday, we are basically into 'you're a hillbilly if you still have decorations up' territory. So, how is an Italian Christmas you might ask? Well it begins like this...
On Thursday & Friday, the festivities begin. Pizzelles, Pizzelles and more Pizzelles. It doesn't get any better than these wonderful Italian cookies, which I know as ferratelle. We spend hours preparing the dough, and two at a time, cooking these treats on the waffle iron. Yes, it seems like a lot of effort for cookies that could be bought at a store but, it is so much more than that. It is an age-old tradition. The smell of the vanilla and anise immediately takes me back to my Grandma Yolanda's house at Christmas time, and just like that-- I am ready for the holiday.
On Saturday La Vigilia, we celebrate festa dei sette pesci. The Feast of the Seven Fishes. This is a tradition that unfortunately, was forgotten in our family and in recent years, I have taken under my wing to ensure we continue each year. This feast, has been a long-standing tradition in Italian families and, marks the wait for the baby Jesus. On Saturday, I begin cooking around 2PM. Salmon, Crab, Lobster- you name it, it's on the table. I am not an uber-religious person by any means, this tradition is more important to me because it honors my Italian heritage and those that have come before me.
Finally, Christmas Day arrives. My mother hosts Christmas Day at her home each year. Thankfully, our Christmas has been growing each year and more and more family comes together to celebrate. We are Italian so of course, there is bread, pasta, vino and more bread. We are NOT afraid of carbs in this family- that's for sure!
If you have sensitive ears, do not come to my mom's on Christmas. Italians seem to think the louder the voice, the better the story, argument, point (you get it, right?) Between the yelling, and the arguing and the tears (yes, of course there were tears and family drama) it's hard to remember why we all came together in the first place. Then, the house clears- and I can hear my thoughts again- and I remember, how lucky I am to have the exact family that I have. In the silence, I miss them all so much and can already feel myself looking forward to next year.
Happy Holidays to you and yours.
This is my dad's prized possession (that mom only allows in the basement.) He collects pop culture ornaments (over ten new each year) and if you come to our house on Christmas- be ready to take the Tree Tour.
"Oh, this is I Love Lucy! Remember Lucy- that crazy broad?"