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Tag Archives: Christmas

The Meals Who Make Us What We Are

Seven Fishes! (photo courtesy Austin Kleon)

One of the things that came out of my article on “The Eternal Italian Debate: Gravy vs. Sauce” was that Italian Americans don’t agree on everything. Some people wrote to me that they never called “it” gravy, that it was not gravy, but that it was sauce. Some said the opposite. I had concluded my article by saying that “What is sauce for the goose is gravy for the gander.” I call it gravy and I still do. But this article is not about gravy. It is a little bit about the foods that went with the holidays of Thanksgiving ...

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‘Twas the Night Before Christmas… and Nana’s Cooking Seven Fishes!


Imagine stepping out of the blustery, snowy, icy, dark December cold and into a warm, brightly lit, steam-windowed, pots-bubbling-over kitchen where the white-haired, aproned chefs cease their chopping, broiling, and stirring just for a moment to enfold you into their tender, welcoming arms, and then order you and your entire family to sit down and eat while they proudly serve up course after course of the most aromatic, succulent, and mouth-watering dishes ever to come out of an 8×8 room. Aah, the delectable wonder of Christmas Eve. When I was growing up, my family embraced the Christmas Eve tradition of ...

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Foul Faux Pas, or… No Birds in the House!


Like most tales of woe, it started off innocent enough. My best friend Paul and I were lazily walking the holiday décor aisles of Target. We did that sometimes after dinner on a Friday night. We’d head to Walgreens or Target, peruse the dollar bins for knick-knacks and bargains, and pat ourselves on the back for treasure-hunting such amazing deals. If I’m being honest, we still do that today; we did it last week. But I digress. On the night in question we had grabbed a bite to eat at TGIFriday’s in Everett and had walked over to Target to ...

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Christmas Tree Origins and an 1896 Celebration in the North End


I always grew up with a decorated Christmas tree. Along with the Manger, the tree seemed both a very Italian and a very Catholic thing to have in the house. The gifts were under the tree and we usually opened them on Christmas morning. I know now, but I didn’t know then, that in Italy people give gifts on the eve of the Epiphany, January 6, and they are brought by La Befana. Today, this tradition still holds, though Babbo Natale and the giving of gifts on Christmas day are becoming more popular in Italy (and many other places, such ...

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Umbria Is Home to The World’s Largest Christmas Tree


Gubbio, in the region of Umbria, is home to the world’s largest Christmas tree.

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Panettone with Gold and Diamonds to Celebrate Christmas


Pastry chef Dario Hartvig, owner of the Pasticceria del Borgo in Carmagnola, near Turin was tasked with baking a delicious panettone topped with edible gold leaf and ringed with a crown of diamonds.

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My Christmas Commuter Caper


It was a perfectly lovely evening to get bus-jacked, I suppose. Since it was the day before Christmas Eve, I was in a particularly joyful and triumphant mood. The “Charlie Brown Christmas” soundtrack played softly on my iPod. It was snowing lightly and there was the perfect amount of crisp winter chill in the air. Unfortunately, there was a bit of chill on the bus as well. The heat didn’t seem to be working, which wouldn’t have been a big deal if the ride home had taken only its usual 30 minutes. However, the bus was crawling at a snail’s ...

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Christmases past, fondly remembered

Seven Fishes! (photo courtesy Austin Kleon)

Growing up in the North End, I never felt a conflict between the religious and popular traditions of Christmas. We knew we were celebrating the birth of Jesus, and we never forgot that. The midnight Mass was the central event of Christmas Eve, and putting cookies out for Santa Claus could never take away from that event. He was, after all, a saint. And the model of the manger with the baby Jesus looked even warmer and lovelier nested as it was among the many other Christmas decorations and lights. It was smaller than the tree, but it was no ...

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Italia Unita Holds Toy Drive for Italian Home for Children


On Saturday, December 15, Italia Unita held a successful toy drive at its East Boston offices on Bennington Street. The toys collected will be given to the Italian Home for Children. Here are some pictures from the event:

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Christmas Concert at Sacred Heart Church


The North End was all wrapped up in the holiday spirit on Dec. 4, as the first annual Christmas concert, featuring Italian songs and arias, took place at Sacred Heart Church.

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St. John School in North End Celebrates an Italian Christmas

Children at the Italian Language School at St. John's.

St. John School in the North End celebrated this past Christmas with mass in Italian, followed by a party based on panettone and other typical Italian foods.

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Santa Claus Visits Children at Boston Bambino Club


Babbo Natale-Santa Claus found some time in his very busy schedule to meet the Italian children of Boston Bambino Club on Friday, Dec. 16.

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