Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Italy - Christmas Tradition

It is not an oversight to talk primarily about food and wine when talking about an Italian Christmas. This holiday is a time of reflection about what is important in life and an opportunity to put your life into perspective. Therefore it is fitting that family, friends, food and wine are the basic elements of Christmas. Yes, there are the nativity scenes, Santa Lucia and the Befana but the true protagonist is the dinner table. A popular saying wraps it up very neatly, “Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi!” Translated “Christmas with your family, Easter with anyone”, it rhymes in Italian.

The Christmas dinner is actually a series of occasions and, according to the part of the country you live in, one meal may be more important than the other. There is the Christmas Eve dinner, Midnight Mass and some Christmas Bread after Mass. There is Christmas dinner on Christmas day, and Santo Stefano, the day after Christmas. The one common factor is that there is a great deal to eat and families will unite together to prepare their best traditional dishes. To put this into perspective, in the US we talk about how much a family intends on spending for Christmas gifts. In Italy they measure how much a family intends to spend on the various holiday feasts.

As an Italian, I will dedicate the next few weeks talking about those recipes that have been important in my family, along with a few stories about some of the interesting customs. This is not to say that all Italian families will prepare the same things. Italy is vast and every region has their own tradition so there will be many things that someone from Abruzzo or Campobasso may feel that I have left out. However, I will attempt to get some of the recipes from our friends in those areas and publish them along with mine.

Additionally I have found that regional US comfort food closely resembles Italian comfort food so I thought it would be interesting to enlist the help of some of our cooking buddies from Lake Charles and ask them to publish their recipes of similar dishes to the ones we prepare. I can assure you that their recipes are great. We get together to cook several times a month and it should be worth your while to check them out. In anticipation of the upcoming holidays:

Tanti Auguri di Buone Feste a Tutti!!!


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Blogger Blue Turtle said...

Yum Yum Yummy!

11:33 PM

Blogger Stefanio said...

I hope your going to cover New Year feasting as well. I love zampone or cotechino with lentils, which are traditionally eaten at new year. mmmm I'm hungry now!

12:34 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

You bet although we are having a bit of a time trying to find Zampone here. We have some friends with an Agriturismo outside of Crema. They specialize in various pork products so I will ask him for the way to make zampone in house.

7:22 AM

Blogger SkyeBlue2U said...

Lasagna sounds good right now! mmmm------- Hey thanks for swinging by my site.

11:59 AM


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