Seven Fishes into the 21st Century
by Kristin Battestella
From Grandma’s smelts and baccala (dried and salted cod), to earlier Italian immigrants buying seafood at the bait shop, many Italian American millennials have heard horror stories of Feasts of the Seven Fishes.
This annual Christmas Eve tradition, born out of old Catholic rules regarding not eating meat on holy days, can seem like a chore for today’s busy holiday season. Who has the time to cook seven different types of fish in one night? Many on-the-go families don’t sit down for such multi-course dining on Christmas Eve. Also, between kids who may not like fish, seafood allergies, vegetarian specialties, and dietary restrictions, why prepare what your holly jolly guests may not even eat? With increasingly casual December celebrations and a packed holiday calendar, there’s little time or twenty-first century inclination to honor old world traditions like the Feast of the Seven Fishes.
Or is there?
Marrying a non-Italian meant if I wanted to introduce my family traditions into my own household, liberties on the Feast of the Seven Fishes had to be taken. How can Italian homemakers and Italian food lovers alike incorporate these holiday foods for contemporary, fast-paced, picky eaters? Here are a few new ways… Continue reading in SEARCH Magazine’s Fall 2020 issue.