The holiday season is in full swing! House is decorated, cards have been sent. The shopping - almost there! Now its time to think about the food. (I'm Italian - it goes with the territory!) For my family, the big celebration is Christmas Eve. And if we all can't get together on the 24th, whatever day we can get together becomes Christmas Eve. So much has changed since we were younger, but so much has stayed the same. The cooks and bakers have shifted down a generation. The houses have changed. Even the menu has been tweaked. But there is always family, food, laughter, wine and "cassata". I think the wine and cassata have a lot to do with the laughter! I'll explain...
Christmas Eve dinner in an Italian family usually always involves fish. The tradition was 7 fishes or fish dishes. We whittled it down to shrimp, baked clams, seafood salad, and lobster - lobster fra diavolo over pasta...lobster tails...lobster and more lobster...technically not fish, but close enough!
|Lobster Fra Diavolo - Taken from Google Images|
|Shrimp Cocktail - yes Google again!|
Me, being the odd one out, will not eat any of that, so I always come prepared with spaghetti and meatballs! I'm sure my family hides their faces when they talk about "the one that doesn't eat seafood", but I have since had my position strengthened by my husband and new sister-in-law, who also don't partake!
|Also from Google Images|
Since I don't eat the fish, I also don't cook it! Baked goods are my specialty. When the party is at my home, my brother steps up to the plate to do most of the cooking. And cooking always involves wine...a little for the food, a little for us. (I'm so glad the baking is done ahead of time...) Once everyone is officially there, the cocktail hour begins. My sister brings her roasted peppers. We make my mother's spinach dip in pumpernickel bread. Shrimp cocktail...(I did say it was cocktail time). And wine....
|Still a Google Image!|
With all this wine, you can see where some of the laughter comes in!
First course - baked stuffed clams...second course - PASTA (my turn to eat!)...third course - lobster! (Don't care...I've already eaten!) And, of course...wine.... By now, four to five hours have passed, we are sated with food and drink...and everyone is sitting around waiting for that special moment! No its not that magical time when you look out the window to see the first snowflakes of winter twinkling in the moonlight. No, it's not Santa and his eight tiny reindeer gracefully landing on the roof with a sack full of everyone's dream gifts.....IT'S CASSATA TIME!!!!
What is cassata???? Why does it induce laughter? Stay tuned....!
"I cook with wine...sometimes I even add it to the food." - W.C. Fields