Blessed feast of St Joseph to all my wonderful readers. We had a wonderful afternoon celebrating this marvelous saint with Little Man’s Godmother and God siblings. It is such a blessing to have such good friends.
This is a simple St Joseph’s table but it still looks so pretty with the linens and lace. I didn’t get to do a lot of cooking, but I tried really hard to find some special delights to share. I’ve found that it is more important to do something to mark a feast day, than to do something spectacular.
The spaghetti in the crystal bowl is called pasta aliege. It is one of my favorite Italian dishes. Traditionally, my family enjoys this on Christmas Eve, but this year we didn’t get to celebrate. I was so happy to finally get to make it for the feast today. A traditional St Joseph’s Table contains twelve fish dishes representing the twelve apostles who were fishermen, or at least fishers of men. We had only one, but it was so good it made up for the missing eleven;) Below is the recipe, I urge you to try it even if you don’t like seafood. It isn’t very fishy tasting, but is bursting with flavor.
One pound spaghetti of your choice
3-4 chopped cloves of garlic
3 Tbsp olive oil
One can anchovy filets in oil
Prepare the spaghetti according to package, I like mine all dente. Add olive oil and garlic to sauce pan. Sautee on medium-low heat until it begins to brown. Add can of anchovies and gently stir with wooden spoon until anchovies melt. Yes, they will melt. Toss with pasta and serve.
This is the St Joseph’s statue that I bought for my husband as a surprise for when Cowgirl was born. I remember that there were a few different version with slightly different color schemes. I liked this one the best because St Joseph is cuddling the Christ Child. What I have always found funny is that St Joseph and the Christ Child are dressed in shades of pink and we ended up having a girl, even though everyone had me convinced it would be a boy.
I don’t have a photo for this, only vivid memories in my mind. The fact is, this is my heritage. These foods and traditions are part of me, my childhood memories, my ancestry. I have to try very hard to keep them alive for my children.
I remember all the big family gatherings in my grandmother’s cellar with endless plates of food, good wine, and lots of noisy, animated conversation. The tables that seemed a hundred feet long, crowded with aunts, uncles, and tons of cousins. Growing up, my lexicon included many Italian phrases and every recipe began by browning garlic in olive oil. My children haven’t had the privilege of growing up that way. The few traditional occasions and holidays that they have experienced, were when they were too young to remember. In the struggle to care for my mom and cope without my father, we began to lose what made us an Italian family.
I love my heritage. All of our children have Biblical first names and saint middle names. My oldest two are named for Italian saints. Little Man isn’t, but his first name is also a namesake of my Italian Grandmother’s brother. (Both my grandmother are Italian, but only one is still alive). My mother used to always say, “My parents were Italian, I’m Italian-American, you are American-Italian, and youth children will be American-American.”
I always thought she was crazy, but it’s true. My children will unfortunately never have the Italian-focused childhood that I did, but I am determined to give them tastes of where they came from. At least they all have Italian stomachs:)