19 March 2011

19 March - Ember Day; St. Joseph

Weather: Ember Day - the weather today foretells the weather of June
Bright, sunny, a few clouds, a few stiff breezes

Is't on St. Joseph's day clear, so follows a fertile year.
Astronomy: The closest moon of 2011 is tonight.  Check out EarthSky's page on the 'supermoon' and Saturn nearby.

And PLEASE check out the page "What's true - and false - about the March 19 supermoon".  Really, people!  It is sad that such a page has to be written.  As Bugs Bunny would say, "What a gulli-bull."

Today is the feast of Saint Joseph, foster-father of Our Lord and protector of the Church.

There is so much written about Joseph, that I can only send you to read some of them.
 After the scripture story of St. Joseph,  Fisheaters describes the custom of St. Joseph's Table, la tavola di San Giuse:  
"Today, after Mass (at least in parishes with large Italian populations), a big altar ("la tavola di San Giuse" or "St. Joseph's Table") is laden with food contributed by everyone (note that all these St. Joseph celebrations might take place on the nearest, most convenient weekend). Different Italian regions celebrate this day differently, but all involve special meatless foods: minestrone, pasta with breadcrumbs (the breadcrumbs symbolize the sawdust that would have covered St. Joseph's floor), seafood, Sfinge di San Giuseppe, and, always, fava beans, which are considered "lucky" because during the drought, the fava thrived while other crops failed (recipes below)." Continue reading here...

The Feast Day Cookbook has recipes for Minestrone and Sfinge di San Giuseppe.

Here in the Smallest State, several of the bakeries have a delightful pastry called 'zeppoles' at this time of year.  An old dictionary describes it as "A doughnut-like pastry which may be filled with bits of cooked cauliflower, anchovies, etc., before frying."  Well, that is as may be.  Here they are filled with a lovely creamy custard which will use up all of your diet plans points for a month.  So be it.  As the song goes, "In Himmel gibt's kein Bier, drum trinken wir es hier..." (In heaven there is no beer; that's why we drink it here...).  That goes for zeppoles as well.

[Its pronunciation?  Good luck.  In this Italian-rich part of the United States, I have heard it pronounced every possible way: zep o lay, zep o lee, tzee po la - and more I can't remember.  Look for something like this in the bakery counter 
point to it, and say, "One of those, please."