Monday, September 06, 2004

Tutti a tavola! Let's eat!

Today is the first day of the Bob Tinnel's daily comic strip - Feast of the Seven Fishes. Be sure to check on it every day. Safari users, scroll down to the bottom of the page, or if you're an Explorer browser user, click on the prompt located on the sidebar.

If you're wondering what a Feast of the Seven Fishes is, read on:

Italians share a tradition of only eating fish on Christmas Eve.

Here's a look at one family's menu:

Christmas, oppure (or) Festa Di Natale, begins with la vigilia a feast on Chrsitmas Eve (the vigil). This consists solely of fish dishes and pasta. Of course you end la vigila in time for Midnight Mass.

Intriguing is the fact that you must have on the table seven fish selections. Why seven? Seven is a very important number. It stands for the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. The seven days of creation. In Biblical numerology, seven is a number of perfection. There is no set menu for this feast. In the casa della famiglia Laurita the dishes were traditionally:

Calamari (squid)
Scungilli [skuhn-GEE-lee] (a large marine snail)
Baccalà [bah-kah-LAH] (dry, salt cod)
Clams served with pasta
Some type of big fish ususally a snapper, sea trout, tuna, or salmon

Christmas day begins with an antipasto. Then would come soup, a pasta (ravioli), a meat course (usually fresh ham), and salad.

Of course fruits and nuts, rest a while, sandwiches for the earlier part of the day. Finally would come the "Venetian table," sweets consisting of cookies, pastries, and other desserts. This is followed by coffee with anisette. All this is, from beginning to finish, accompanied with a good red table wine.
-- Paula Laurita, BellaOnline

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