December 02, 2011
Italian Christmas Eve: The Feast of Seven Fishes
By Katherine Haas

By Katherine Haas

Book written by: Linda and Rocco Maniscalco

Family traditions are often at the heart of childhood memories, and this is even more the case if the tradition is part of a family’s ethnic identity. Though my family’s Lithuanian heritage only played a big part of our lives at Christmas, I still remember the white straw Christmas tree ornaments and the seven meatless dishes fondly from childhood.

Giving tribute to their own family and cultural traditions, Linda and Rocco Maniscalco have memorialized the Italian attitude toward Advent and Christmas in their “Reminiscence with Recipes.” The book explains the significance of The Feast of Seven Fishes to the Italian celebration of Advent and Christmas and guides the reader through the preparations for this very meaningful meal.

“Italian Christmas Eve: The Feast of Seven Fishes” ($9.95) is a collection of delightful anecdotes that pique the reader’s curiosity about a recipe and then present the details of recipe itself, or a few variations thereon. Amid the recipes are many fascinating stories about preparing an eel (not a practice for the faint-hearted), the Italian custom of the cookie exchange, and the meaning of the traditional Italian toast: “Stata Buon” (Stay Well!). Also included is a list of “where to shop” for the higher quality or harder to find ingredients in these unique recipes. A valuable resource to those who live on the northeastern seaboard, the list is less useful for residents of landlocked states.

The recipe book is amplified by the explanation of a typical Italian Christmas Eve, which prefaces the book, as well as the introduction to the season of Advent, written by Bishop John Barres of Allentown, Pa. It is enhanced by the story of the recipes (Linda found them attached to the back of a portrait of her great-grandmother) and by Linda’s own tips and tricks for preparing the dishes in a modern kitchen with contemporary time constraints. Even for the culinarily inept, the book does a good job of introducing the idea of the Christmas Eve meal as the last fast, a celebratory fast, before the arrival of the Christ Child. You don’t have to be Italian to read, appreciate, or utilize this cookbook!

« Previous entry     Back to index     Next entry »
Ads by Google
(What's this?)
blog comments powered by Disqus


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Pope Francis in the Philippines: Manila Welcomes the Pope
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Highlights
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Interview with Cardinal Ranjith
Pope Francis in SriLanka: Inter-religious Faith Meeting
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day

Liturgical Calendar

January 27, 2015

Tuesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mk 3:22-30


Daily Readings

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mk 3:22-30

Text only

Follow us: