March 19th which falls on a Monday this year is a very special day for Italians because it honors St. Joseph and is his Feast Day. It is also celebrated as Father’s Day in some parts of Italy. St. Joseph is important to Italians and especially Sicilians for many reasons but the most recognized one is because of a drought in Sicily in the middle ages.
Italians are very religious people and they prayed to St. Joseph to send them rain. In return they vowed to celebrate with a feast as a tribute to him. Their prayers were answered and they followed through on their promise with a large feast. They feasted on local foods such as fava beans, which thrived well after the rain. The feast most likely included many sweets which are important in Italian celebrations. The meal, however, had to remain meatless because the cattle were very lean as a result of the drought.
This Feast Day is still celebrated in many Italian homes, Catholic Churches and Catholic Organizations today. And the meals are still meatless and include some form of fava bean. For Sicilians, Pasta con Sarde will most likely be part of the menu. One of the most favorite and traditional of the sweets is Zeppole. These are deep fried fritters, filled with a sweet custard cream, sprinkled with powdered sugar and usually topped with a cherry.
At the E. 48th Street Market we have what you need to have your own St. Joseph Feast. We have fava beans and Pasta con Sarde and we will be making our traditional Zeppoles. Ours will be custard filled and topped with a cherry. Zeppoles will be available from Thursday March 15 through Monday, March 19th.
AND NOT TO WORRY, WE ARE MULTI-TRADITIONAL AND WILL HAVE IRISH SODAY BREAD, TOO. Irish Soda Bread will be available from Thursday, March 15th through Saturday, March 17th.
So that you won’t be disappointed we suggest that you place an order early for these specialty items.
FYI, don’t forget your fava beans. Not only are they nourishing and good for you but you should always carry one in your pocket for good luck and prosperity.