I come from a family who celebrates St. Joseph’s Day, mainly because almost everyone is named some form of Joseph….We have Uncle Joe, Cousin Joey, Cousin Joe Joe and little cousin Joseph, just to name a few.
St. Joseph is the Patron Saint of Pastry Chefs and Italian-American communities. Some traditions are still alive and kicking in these communities today: The Altar (la tavola di San Giuseppe – literally translated means St. Joseph’s Table) is blessed by a priest and people place all kinds of foods on it. No meat is eaten on St. Joseph’s Day, but it is celebrated with a grand feast.
I have great memories of dancing with my cousins as our Grandfather played the accordion at the Feast of St. Giuseppe and, of course, we ate lots of meatless traditional foods like: Minestrone Soup, pasta with breadcrumbs on top, (which symbolizes sawdust, in honor of St. Joseph’s profession-carpentry), seafood, fava beans (one of which is saved to bring luck throughout the year), along with desserts like Zeppola (deep fried dough), and Cream Puffs.
In Italy, Father’s Day is celebrated on St. Joseph’s Day. St. Joseph is the symbol of fatherly love, kindness, generosity, and compassion – he raised Jesus, need I say more? During the Middle Ages, Sicily went through a major drought and townsfolk prayed to Saint Joseph for rain and it rained! The crop that saved the Sicilians from famine was the fava bean!
People wear red, which is supposed to ward off the evil eye! So, don’t forget to wear your red mutandees (red underwear) on March 19th!
Where can you get Zeppola ? Isgro’s, which is one of our stops on the Taste of the Italian Market Tour!
For more information on our culinary tours, please call Chef Jacquie at (610) 506-6120.