Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve: Feast of the Seven Fishes...

an Italian tradition.

Yesterday I was feeling rather annoyed.  First we went without electricity Sunday and Monday.  Second, I decided that a trip to the grocery store was in order yesterday, and confident that the driveway was passable, I backed out of the barn wherein I promptly slid into a snow bank.  After a few maneuvers to unstick the car I got really mad and decided to leave the darn car there until spring.

After calming down, hubby and I went back out and tried even more maneuvers.  Um - no luck.  Finally, hubby remembered we had Allstate Motor Club.  I called and the local towing company was out here post haste.  He hooked up the back end of the car with a chain and cranked up his 13k pound tow truck.  Nope. That car was just not cooperating.

Finally, the driver, who was becoming a bit pissed (at the car, not me), whipped out his shovel, dug down to the gravel, hopped in with the attitude of "you're damn well coming out of this snow bank."  After a couple attempts he finally unearthed the car and got it safely into the barn.

I realized that not only was I not going to the grocery store, but my plans for midnight Mass this evening were also kaput.

Now I'm really ticked off.

Enter one migraine headache.  Wow, just what I needed.

After an adult beverage (not medically recommended for migraines), I went to bed about 7pm.

So what has this to do with the Feast of the Seven Fishes?

An Italian tradition is to eat fish dishes on Christmas Eve.  Seven to be exact.  Or sometimes nine or twelve 'cause that's how Italian's roll.

 Growing up we didn't prepare seven fish dishes, but we always had baccalà compliments of my Aunt Laurie (RIP)

Baccalà  means dried and salted cod fish.  The cod has to be soaked in water for many days with frequent rinses to make the final dish.

There are as many ways to make baccalà as there are Italians.  Ours was always made with layers of potatoes, cod, black olives, red sauce, and cheese.

I've always cheated and used fresh cod fillets.

But..............I couldn't get to the store.

I headed out to my big freezer in the barn and, lo and behold, I found, neatly vacuum sealed, two large cod fillets.  And right next to it was a bag of Costco talapia (the only safe ones to eat) fillets.

I have home-canned sauce in my pantry and two baking potatoes. I also have home-canned butternut squash to whip up a starter soup.  Salad will be made using the clementines I already have, home-canned pears,  mixed with flaked coconut, raisins, topped with chopped toasted pecans, and drizzled with ranch dressing served on a bed of lettuce leaves.  Bingo!  We're on for this evening.

I pulled out a pork roast for tomorrow which will be wrapped in bacon and slow cooked.  Brussels sprouts in orange sauce, and home-made biscuits completes the meal. 

See there?  I didn't really need to go to the store.  My headache is gone, and I'm reminded that millions of people will go hungry this Christmas, or have family members serving in dangerous situations rendering my complaints petty and ridiculous.

While not perfect, Mass will be provided by EWTN online - and I thank them.

Now listen to the most wonderful arrangement of "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" I've ever heard.

I will offer my Mass prayers for all who visit me through the year, known and unknown, their families, our service men and women, and our country. 

May the joy of Our Lord and Savior live in your hearts.

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