vigilia di natale

In the last 10 years, we’ve eaten at my aunt-and-uncle’s for Christmas Eve and then at my parents’ for Christmas Day. I’ve rarely brought my camera to Christmas Eve, but this year I wanted to capture some of the meal. Instead, I saw this beautiful orange cactus and decided to shoot it. The black background in the image – and great contrasting color – is the plastic pot the plant is in.

Derrick’s dad joined us for dinner; my uncle’s 97-year old aunt – Teresina – couldn’t make it this year and my dad was fondly remembered. Seane and Dave drove up and were there for the fish course (they still had the left-over pasta, even though both the white and red were cold – terribly non-Italian); by 10pm, the Melchiorres – Dom, Mary, Daniel and Alyssa – who spend Christmas Eve at Dominic’s mom’s, came by; so, we all got to visit – a day earlier than usual.

The Christmas Eve – vigilia di natale – Foods

pasta course
• white spaghetti with anchovies, red spaghetti with calamari sauce and a fish-stew topping,
fish course
• breaded fried shrimp, calamari, clams and muscles in a tomato sauce and cullurilli – potato donuts
• brussel-sprouts, broccoli salad
(I passed on the shrimp and ate the fish stew, using the cullurilli to soak up the delicious red sauce. Also, this was a reduced menu; in past years there would have been fried clams, perch, salt-water smelts and the old standby baccala – cod – prepared, in at least, 3 different ways.)
• leaf-greens and cherry tomato salad in a red wine vinaigrette
after-dinner palate-cleansers
• anise, cantaloupe and melon
• genetti – soft anice cookies, scalille, turdilli, tangerines, oranges, apples, espresso, and various liqueurs

And we easy went through 5 to 7 bottles of red wine.