Italian Cooking & Language Blog

Fare La Scarpetta means to wipe your plate clean with a piece of bread.

What else could you ask for?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Upcoming Holiday Menus: Passover & Easter

I remember my grandfather hiding the matza under cushions on Passover. While it was always a messy discovery, I enjoying eating the remaining (boxed) salted matza smeared with butter. Every Easter, my mother and I would decorate hard boiled eggs with dyes, crayons, markers, stamps and anything else she found in her studio that could be used on an egg.

Nostalgia, family, tradition and food are what comes to mind when we think of holidays. As a new family, my husband and I are actively creating new holiday traditions for ourselves. My contribution tends to be planning the menu too far in advance. Luckily, he’s happy to not only discuss the menu, but also try out some dishes ahead of time.

Passover, starting March 30th, and Easter on April 4th, are close. What are your favorite dishes served on Passover or Easter? Have you already thought about what you’ll serve?

As many of you know, historically Italy had a vibrant and active Jewish population. I’ve been reading Edda Servi Machlin’s cookbook Classic Italian Jewish Cooking looking for inspiration for Passover dishes. Her descriptions of the town where her family originated, Pitigliano in Tuscany, was known as “The Little Jerusalem.” She describes her family’s history as it was connected to the history of the Jewish population in this town and throughout Italy. As for her recipes, she’s the perfect, accessible source for any chef interested in trying new dishes.

Many of her recipes are familiar because of their dual traditional influences. For example, we’ve eaten Jellied Striped Bass (much like gefilte fish patties) and Tomato Bread Soup Peasant Style (papa al pomodoro). The interesting part is how the recipes differ from the recipes we might already follow.

I look forward to trying many new dishes. I’m intrigued by her Spinach and Ricotta Pancakes as well as the Marinated Squash Flowers. I haven’t tried any yet, but they are easy to read and seem easy to follow. I enjoyed the beginning chapters that describe the ingredients and how to use them. I know I’ll be following her instructions on how to prepare an artichoke the next time I make them Roman Jewish Style.


Jen said...

Hmmm... let's see if I can actually comment this way. We are only doing Easter this year - like you, I'm from a mixed background, but this year we're doing Easter for my mom. I know I'm serving lamb, and roasted potatoes and artichoke hearts and candies by Nancy... that's as far as I've gotten. ;-)

Chloe Yelena Miller said...

Yum! That sounds great, Jen. Thanks for reading and commenting!