Traditional deliciousness to benefit Feeding America
And a very good day to you:
It's that time.
Now deep into our fourth year of celebration, I invite you all over to my aunt Marie's house for a weekend of family (read as Italian [American]) festivities. Every December, we spend one weekend recreating a tradition that has been celebrated for centuries. A tradition that we have very purposefully commandeered and filled with piles of ridiculousness and business juice.
Like many an Italian-reared child, I grew up learning to cook in the kitchen with my family. Holidays, especially the two-day celebrations that surrounded Christmas, were the most enjoyable. With or without Jesus' birthday involved, the food, the company, the conversation, and traditions are a huge part of how and why I cook.
For the last four years we have gathered together to create the traditional food my family prepared and add our own flair and flavor to it. With these modifications have come our own traditions: Genus skins an eel (this year it will be alive), Linda pours the business juice (this year it will also give you a headache the next morning), Snyder decorates with the kind of frightening religious realism that only a dollar store can provide, and Mike Lee tries to lure us to movie theaters for midnight showings, often in Queens.
As in the past years, in memory of my grandparents, we will be donating a portion of the proceeds from these events to their favorite charity, Feeding America.
To throw some knowledge your way, these two separate meals are defined by the stringent set of rules governing possible ingredients. La Vigilia, on Christmas Eve, is most recognized as the Feast of the Seven Fishes. This is a vigilia di magro, or a lean day where meat is prohibited.
Traditionally, Italians break the lean day with Il Pranzo (the lunch) on Christmas day, which is a celebration of meat, cheese and sweets.
Both meals are decadent and extravagant in their own ways, but the real beauty of these traditional events is the social interaction surrounding the preparation and service of the meal. The idea of not just showing up at your family’s house to eat but to cook and participate is one of the founding tenets for a razor, a a shiny knife and a clear example of one of the most enjoyable functions of food.
To really get into the spirit, Saturday night's meal will be a formal but joyous event. By formal, I mean Italian American in tradition and iconography. Tracksuits. Hoop earrings. You know the drill. (If you don’t, rent Goodfellas and watch up until the point where cocaine gets involved). Sunday afternoon's meal is a much more casual and relaxed event. Gifts will be exchanged and comfortable attire is encouraged. Needless to say, tracksuits are considered acceptable at both events.
As always, these events are not only for professional chefs or foodies; they are for anyone who loves food, regardless of culinary knowledge or experience.
We produce these events to create a communal environment of social interaction, education and fun. If you ever have a concept for an event or a ridiculous idea that you would like us to get involved with, please feel free to reach out!
Brooklyn, NY - Location will be disclosed only to confirmed guests
Saturday, 10 December - Feast of the Seven Fishes
Antipasto di Mare – Baccalà, Arsella, Ostrica, Gambero, Capesante, Scungilli
Antipasto di Mare - Salt cod, clams, oyster, shrimp, scallops, whelks
Tagliolini di Bottarga
Tagliolini of Mullet Roe
Anguilla Fritte con cavolo croccante
Fried eel with crispy kale
Branzino al sale con una quantità oscena di piattini
Bass in salt with many side dishes
La collana del prete e una selezione di tradizionali pasticcerie italiane
Dried and fresh fruit and a selection of traditional Italian pastries
Menu was written with Daniel Castaño, Laura Cirino, Gilda Contento and Andrew Rosenberg
A selection of adult beverages will be paired with the meal.
Knife sharpening and basic skills (feel free to bring your own knives)
We can accomodate many dietary restrictions in any menu we offer. If you have any dietary restrictions please let us know at the time of booking your reservation so we can make accommodations if possible. Our goal is to be inclusionary with our meals and if you are interested in attending please reach out to see how we can accomodate your needs.
We are asking for just a handful of volunteers for this event. If you are interested in being alerted to volunteering positions ahead of time we suggest you send us an email asking to be added to our VOLUNTEER LIST. You can also sign up directly through our website.
If you own a company or organization that is interesting in participating in this event, by donating product, expertise, equipment, or through financial support, please feel free to respond to this email with information.
If you have any questions about the performance during the event, dress code, things to bring, or dishes we will be serving, please feel free to contact me. If you would like to tell people about these events or invite anyone specifically, please forward the message along to them and have them RSVP at the site above.
To follow our on-going culinary-infused discussions please follow us on facebook, where we encourage you to ask questions, transcribe stories, exchange recipes, and post photos from events you have attended.
I thank you all and look forward to cooking with you.
“The observances of the church concerning feasts and fasts are tolerably well-kept, since the rich keep the feasts and the poor keep the fasts”
- Sydney Smith