Sunday, December 02, 2007


When I was a kid the holiday dinners rotated between our place
and my Uncle Ed’s and Aunt Emily’s. If Thanksgiving was at our
house, then Christmas would be at theirs. Since Emily is Italian
the holiday had an extra element for the dinner. We’d eat all the
traditional food: turkey, stuffing, veggies, and then after that was
cleared, Aunt Emily’s mom Nonnie Cappadano would bring out
the Italian food: lasagna, meatballs, stuffed sausages, and other
great dishes. To this day at Thanksgiving there is usually lasagna
served along with the turkey and I had leftovers of both sent
home with me here afterwards.

Since we now usually gather at my sister’s for Christmas Eve to
open gifts and eat, the food is a bit less formal, sometimes buffet
style with meatballs, cold cuts, and salad. Then Christmas Day
comes another big meal.

And that’s how an Irish Catholic family eats a lot of Italian at
holiday time.

In Nonnie’s words…“Manga!”


Apple said...

You don't mention meatball soup, one of my husband's family's Italian traditions that I haven't quite taken to. They didn't have lasagna which I would have been happy to see.

I'd love to know if your Nonnie Cappadano has known ties to the Cappadano's of Rochester or Syracuse, NY. We are told that they are related to Father Cappadano of Brooklyn but I haven't nailed that down.

Lori Thornton said...

I can honestly say that I've never had lasagna or spaghetti for a holiday meal! We don't have a drop of Italian blood (at least that I've found yet).

Bill West said...

And we never had meatball soup!
Sounds good though. Most likely it
was a favorite dish in the region of Italy that your husband's family comes from but perhaps not in the region my Aunt Emily's were

As far as I know she doesn't have any Brooklyn relatives, though.

Bill West said...

Neither do we but Dad was hooked on Italian food.Emily taught him how to make the lasagna dish and we had it often.He liked to make
spaghetti sauce and often he'd experiment with a tablespoon or two of wine. Once our cat got a bit tipsy when one of us kids gave it some of the spaghetti!

I should mention though we never had spaghetti at the holiday meals. Just about every other kind of Italian food though at one time or another over the years. And the pastry and cookies!!

Man,those were the days. *grin*

Thomas MacEntee said...

This is how my family got the Italian connection and then the Italian dishes started being part of our holiday traditions:

My aunt in Jersey City, NJ (where she, my mother and the other 10 kids grew up) married into a large Italian family with roots in Genoa.

These are the dishes I remember around the holidays:

- antipast (realize that Southern Italians tend to drop the last vowel on lots of words, like "rigaut" for riccotta or "manigaut" for manicotti)
- pasta fagiole (we called it "pasta bazool" as kids)
- Italian Christmas cookies. I can't remember the names but one was covered in sesame seeds, some were dipped in honey