As I prepare for the upcoming Christmas holiday, I cannot help but think of (and miss) memories of Christmas past. The Calabrese heritage of my family was never so obvious as it was at Christmas. I don't think I fully appreciated it until it was gone.
Every Christmas brings a flood of memories. By December 22 the house will filled with dozens of presents for family. Mom always hid presents for my brother and I and there was never enough space under the Christmas tree for all the presents but somehow mom managed to stack and arrange all the presents there for cousins, aunts and uncles. The full finished bar in our basement was lined with bottles of various alcoholic beverages to bring to each place visited during the holiday season. The day before Christmas Eve always involved a trip to Fannie Mae so Dad could purchase boxes of chocolates for his cousins. We never went anywhere without a box of Fannie Maes and a bottle of the hosts favorite alcoholic beverage in hand.
Christmas Eve dinner was fish and while I realize others of Italian ancestry celebrated with a feast of 7 fishes, we did not. Dad hated cod so Bakala was never on the menu. What always was on the menu was an assortment of scallops, shrimp, clams and our family favorite pasta acciughe. As a family project we all participated in making pignolatta, a tasty treat make with boiling hot honey (pictured on the right).
Merry Christmas, Buon Natale, Feliz Navidad.