December 24, 2009
3rd entry – christmas 2009
Christmas Eve is always at my aunt and uncle’s. The list included – Ciccio, Mafalda, (parents) Gina, Emilio, (aunt and uncle) Teresina, (uncle’s step mother) Rose, Derrick (cousins) and myself. Connie (my sister) was in Toronto and Mary, Domenic (cousins) and the kids are at Dom’s mother’s. I decided to take the camera and the audio recorded this year.
Rose and I had talked back in August, in Pellaro about getting the old stories from everyone and I promised to do that at Christmas. I’ll create a page in the People section of the webpage and add the recording from Christmas Eve. It was interesting to find out that back in Italy, in 1957, Mafalda had exchanged letters with Teresina hoping to meet up on the boat in Naples. Teresina was leaving Martirano and heading to Sault Ste Marie the same time the Zinga family was leaving Aprigliano and heading to northern Ontario.
The pic is my uncle – Emilio – and Mafalda is in the background doing dishes. Christmas Eve is one of my favorite meals. It’s still the ethnic meal of my childhood with pasta and sardines, rapini, curdurilli e sarde, and baccala. Other dished have been added to these staples, but I don’t eat them. The most notable change is the addition of other fish besides the cod. I hate cod and if I have to eat fish, I’ll try the others. Many people ask me about the Christmas Eve meal and the 7 dishes of fish. My answer is that the seven fish meal is a sea-town tradition. In the mountain-top towns, the only fish we would eat on Christmas Eve was cod and that’s because it was the cheapest fish to buy. But the cod prepared in at least three different ways – sauted in red sauce, sauted in a white sauce and baked. I hated it all.
In the pic, Emilio is dishing out the fennel. The main meal is over and we’re on the dessert. And yes, fennel is one of the dessert items; maybe even my favorite.