Monday, March 19, 2012

St. Joseph's Day

Sunday morning at the Bloody Mary Bar at the Shebeen, where our friends were nursing their apres St. Paddy's day hangovers,  I tried, and failed, to recreate the Bloody Mary of my childhood.  It is an elusive thing:  Sunday mornings at Grandpa's, they were rich and peppery, with their jaunty stick of celery.  I don't know where I went wrong: not enough Worcestershire, or too much celery salt.  Jon had to finish it for me.  What's your Bloody Mary secret?

Delores Davoli will not die.  The other day I got this startling email.

I logged in as Delores, just to see what was going on and she had a wall full of posts from her "friends" but luckily, no new friend requests or messages.  

We got a letter from Ian's school saying he is approved to graduate in May.  This, of course, is contingent upon passing this semester's classes.  He is taking eighteen credits and working part time for a painter.  He called me last night to say he'd moved into a new apartment, which is good news, I think.  The old apartment was plagued with bats and his bedroom was on the third floor, so I was perpetually worried about rabies/death by fire.  The advantage of the old apartment was that it was close enough to campus to steal their wifi plus enjoy the benefits of campus public safety.  Now he is in a terrible neighborhood, in the shadow of City Hall,  deep on the lower west side, a forty-five minute commute by bus and subway to school.  He's sharing a large second floor flat in an ancient  house with two friends and is enormously pleased that he gets a bedroom and a study all to himself.  His share of the rent is $380, which includes utilities, a good thing because the heating bills so close to the waterfront must be fearsome, even for Buffalo.

Today is St. Joseph's Day, which is a big deal in Buffalo, although nobody in Virginia seems to have heard of it.  I'm not Italian, but in honor of the day I cooked an Italian chicken, braised in white wine, kalamata olives, and anchovies, for dinner last night.  We had pizelles (store bought) for dessert.  Next year I'd like to attempt a proper St. Joseph's table.  We never did one at home, when I was growing up, but it's difficult to live in Buffalo, NY and not encounter a St. Joseph's table somewhere.  My grammar school always had a big St. Joseph's Day celebration, as did my college.  St. Joseph's day isn't really a part of my ethnic heritage, but it's part of my geographic heritage, the same way Dyngus Day and butter lambs are a part of my heritage even though I am not Polish. If you know what I'm talking about, share your favorite St. Joseph's Day dish in the comments.


  1. There were no Bloody Marys in my childhood. How many of these were you kids throwing back at a time? :) I love tomatoes but tomato juice makes me gag.

    Buffalo has a subway system?!?

    I have no idea who St. Joseph was. Is he affiliated with aspirin?

    I am so impressed with Ian!!!

  2. St Joseph's day zeppoles
    are some of my favorite pastries ever. When I lived in Boston my roommate was Italian and she introduced me to them. I haven't found them anywhere else. They sell them at Chandler's but they don't really measure up. Maybe I should try to bake some tonight.

  3. You lucky thing, having a Grandpa who made Bloody Marys. I've never quite mastered it, as I get the proportions wrong, but a little lemon juice and plenty of salt and pepper and Worcester Sauce does it for me. Don't forget the Vodka.

    We never stop worrying about our kids.
    Never heard of St Jospeh's Day, or Dyngus Day or pizelles come to that.

    Enjoy your meal.

  4. Bloody Mary's have never appealed --it's the tomato juice thing.

    I really think that if there is an Italian holiday for a saint, the saint should be Saint Antonio or something. St. Joseph? Really?

  5. how funny I was craving a bloody mary yesturday....unsuccessfully......never heard of St. Joseph day.....what's that??

  6. I think I've been to my share of St. Joseph's days feasts, but the year I missed it is the year that will live in infamy.
    My mother promised she had mailed me a care package while I was off at college. Two weeks later, when I talked to her, I asked where my package was. She laughed and then told me I wasn't going to church enough. My goodies had been sent to the campus parish St. Joseph's Day feast.
    I was pissed off. Somebody ate all my goodies! Darn her!

  7. Young at Heart--St. Joseph is the patron saint of Italy so his feast day on March 19th is celebrated by Italians. Since it takes place during Lent, a feast of meatless dishes is served.

    Sarah--that's hilarious about your care package. I can see your mom doing that.

  8. Growing up in my household drinking was a serious business. There was not time to make things like Bloody Mary's since all the prep work would interfere with the drinking.

  9. The perfect bloody mary is in the wrist--a dash of Tabasco, 3 splashes of Worcestershire, a pour of vodka, level off with tomato juice, a squirt of lemon juice and two dashes of celery salt on top. I used to tend bar.
    Love that the facebook page is seeing action;) That made me snicker.