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OK. We have posted about Hanukkah and a while back about Kwanza and several other culturally diverse holidays. And it seems that this year, I have been hearing a lot about the Italian Christmas Eve celebration of the Feast of the Seven Fishes. As it turns out, there is quite a bit written about the feast, usually held on Christmas Eve. “The Feast of the Seven Fishes is an Italian Christmas celebration. Today, it is a feast that typically consists of seven different seafood dishes. However, some Italian-American families have been known to celebrate with nine, eleven or thirteen different seafood dishes. This celebration commemorates the wait, the Vigilia di Natale, for the midnight birth of the baby Jesus. It is unclear when the term “Feast of the Seven Fishes” was popularized.” (Wikipedia) And according to Mario Batali on Epicurious.com, “”It’s what Italians do when they say they’re fasting.” More precisely, the Feast is a meal served in Italian households on La Vigilia (Christmas Eve). In many parts of Italy, the night is traditionally a partial fast, during which no meat should be served. But in true Italian style, this proscription has morphed into something very unfastlike indeed: course after course of luxurious seafood dishes, often as many as 7, 10, or even 13. “No one’s quite sure of the significance of the number,” says Batali. “Some families do seven for the sacraments. Some do ten for the stations of the cross. And some even do 13 for the 12 apostles plus Jesus.” (You can read more at of this article, and get some recipes, at Batali Seven Fishes.)
Cod-with-Tomato-Cream-SauceAnd here is just one of many dishes that you can easily prepare for the feast. I may try it this year. It is called Cod with Tomato Cream Sauce and comes from Eating Well.
And finally, if you would like a little more information and maybe some recipes, look at the Seven Fishes Blog. Enjoy the recipes and the feast!