Thursday, November 27, 2014

7-course Italian Holiday Meal honoring my Italian Heritage

Thanksgiving 2014
 While my 96-year old grandmother was visiting earlier this month, she told me about the Sunday dinners (and the holidays) at her Italian grandmother's home. Her grandmother's children owned different stores, one had a delicatessen, a grocer, a bakery. Without refrigeration and not wanting to pay for ice to keep things cold on Sundays or holidays, they would bring the leftover perishable food to her grandmother. My great-great grandmother would prepare a traditional feast for her family each week.

she is rolling bracioles
As my grandmother retold her childhood story, how she missed the family time together and LOVED the 7-course meals with wine, all I could think about is this is a piece of me too. What a tradition to restart, not because the food would perish as in her grandmother's day but to preserve a piece of who I am and the importance of being surrounded by loved ones.  As for our time-period,what a blessing to have refrigeration and freezers, so the food could be prepared over several weeks and stored in the freezer.
I remind my grandmother of her grandmother, in many ways, being petite, the love of food preparation, the garden, and the chickens just as her grandmother; although my great, great grandmother DID kill her chickens.
With each visit I realize, I may look more like my paternal German side, but I have my material Italian heart.
I love how things always come full circle!
Thanksgiving 2014 with my grandmother

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, so we decided to restart her 7-course meal for Thanksgiving, although not a traditional Thanksgiving meal, while she is still with us. This will be a Holiday Tradition to pass on to our children. I selected braciole because growing up it was one of my favorite meals prepared by my grandmother . Our son, Joe, made the bracoile the day after we talked about the menu and restarting the tradition.

From my grandmother's memory, all the perishables from the family's stores provided for these courses; an antipasto platter, a salad, soup, pasta, meat, a fruit and cheese platter, and dessert.

In trying to keep with tradition plus meeting our family needs, this is what we created.

course 1: Antipasto platter
Antipasto Platter

antipasto platter consisted of nitrate-free pepperoni and salami, olives, and artichokes.
vegetable antipasto
For our vegans, we prepared a vegetable antipasto platter consisting of broccoli,  zucchini, mushrooms, red peppers,  and green beans. The vegetables were marinaded with orange juice, lemon juice, olive oil, flax oil, and herbs from from our garden.
The wine selected was pinot grigio.

course 2: Salad
the salad was brought by our friends Jyl and Cristen as a mini salad bar.
The wine selected was pinot noir

course 3: Soup
Chicken Soup
Non-cream of mushroom soup
homemade soups were a chicken soup using the carcass and whatever vegetables are in the refrigerator and herbs in the garden) and a non-cream of mushroom soup )
The wine selected was Sauvigon blanc

course 4:
Pasta with Tomato Sauce
the pasta was rice pasta with a living tomato sauce from
The wine selected was Chianti

course 5: Main Dish
Garlic Bread
The main meal was braciole stuffed with a ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, bread crumb, herb mix for our meat eaters.
The baguettes are UDIs and served with roasted garlic olive oil.
Zucchini Manicotti
For those who are vegan we served zucchini manicotti from
This was served with a side of green beans from our garden.
The wine selected was Sangiovese

course 6: Fruit and Cheese
Brie with apples and raspberries

the fruit and cheese platters were  a walnut stuffed brie from WholeFoods and
Almond Herb Spread
an almond feta spread.
We served this with sliced apples and pears, and gluten free crackers.
The wine selected was Riesling

course 7: Dessert
Raw Pumpkin Pie
desserts were a raw pumpkin pie (provided by Debbie and Craig)
Raw French Silk Pie
and raw cacao silk pie with a cashew whipping cream
Both served with  herbal teas or coffee.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!

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