The feast of the seven fishes is how Italians (or at least Italians of my husband’s type whose family goes back to Abruzzi and Calabria) celebrate Christmas Eve. Or, to quote to Mario Batali, “It’s what Italians do when they say they’re fasting.”
My husband’s brother Fran and his family are in charge of the feast now, and they have wisely moved it from actual Christmas Eve to the Saturday night before. It’s one of those moves where you wonder why you didn’t do it years earlier. Once you’ve made the change, you can’t imagine how you cooked and ate this huge meal, then went home, filled stockings, did “some adult assembly” of the children’s presents, fell into bed, got up with the kids, and cooked and ate another huge meal the next day.
Here’s the Carito version of the feast.
Also not pictured, the layered shrimp dip and the clam dip that make up the other two fish. Also way, way too many desserts.
A lovely and enduring family tradition. Last year we had all ten my kid’s cousins there with us. This year, we were not so lucky, but my new granddaughter kept us all amused, and those who few couldn’t be with us were missed and cherished.