written by Yvonne Dagger
Ever since I was a young girl, St. Patrick's Day was a super special holiday in our house. My mom would make us green apple sauce (apple sauce tinted with green food coloring) with our dinner. She would purchase Motts bottled apple sauce (she never made the apple sauce from scratch. I think this had to do with the fact that she had 6 kids to deal with all day long. My guess is that it was just a lot easier 😁). That tradition continued into my years as a young mother and now my kids continue this "Green Apple Sauce" Tradition on St. Patrick's Day. AND I might add we still use the bottled apple sauce. I saw recently that Motts is making green applesauce now. That's even easier for busy mom's. How great is that!?!
Family traditions are interesting. Very often I've contemplated on how they get started. Perhaps it's just a creative idea that makes a holiday more festive like our "green" apple sauce family tradition. Or maybe, it's a tradition that dates back to a country of origin. Whatever it happens to be, family traditions define who we are as individuals. I'm Italian by heritage (Scilian and Calabrase to be more specific). The Southern Italian's have many traditions. Many, many traditions!! 🥰
For instance, just to name one, on St. Joseph's Day (March 19th) we indulge in a pastry called Sfinge or Zeppola di San Giuseppe ~(Pastry of St. Joseph in Italian). St. Joseph was the stepfather of Jesus, husband to Mary, member of the holy family. Sfinge and zeppoli are eaten in southern Italy and in Italian American communities all year long, but it feels very special to eat them around this time of year. Basically the pastry consists of a cream puff filled with either custard or cannoli cream. Many sources indicate that sfinge and zeppoli are one in the same, but in my family they seem to be treated differently. The zeppola tends to be more or less round with powered sugar sprinkled on top and sometimes with custard sandwiched inside, whereas the sfinge is more open and has the cannoli or pastry cream placed atop the pastry itself and topped with candied fruit like cherries, citrus and even mini chocolate chips. My grandfather, Joseph Dominianni, we called him Poppy, would travel to the best Italian Bakery on St. Joseph's Day to get a few Sfinge for us. It was a real treat! You'd never even mention making them from scratch at home...it just wasn't the same as visiting a real authentic Southern Italian Bakery to purchase a few Sfinge on St. Joseph's Day. And he traveled!!! Boy, did he travel...He'd travel sometimes an hour to bring home some of those delectable treats. It ended up feeling like a journey that was sacred and special. I loved that family tradition. Poppy has since passed away, but the tradition lives on!
Do you have any Family Traditions?
Let me know in the comments below.
Whatever they are and whatever you do...
Have a Happy March filled with
good health, joy and as the Old Irish saying goes,
☘️ "May Love and Laughter Light Your Days" ☘️.
Happy Tales to you,
(An Italian-American married to an Irish-American)
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A Place where I can Bark, Blog and Woof a Little
written by Yvonne Dagger