Have I mentioned that I love Italian food before? Yes? I have? Well, no surprise there. What is somewhat surprising is the fact that I’ve now been living in Boston for 17 years, and had never been to a single Italian festival in the historic North End. Until recently. (This is going somewhere good, can’t you tell?)
I’ll tell you all about the festival in just a moment, but I’m too excited about the feature part to wait… What’s important to know is that my recent visit to the North End planted a seed in my li’l noggin. I came home after the festival and nestled into my corner of the couch with a couple of my favorite Italian cookbooks. I’m fairly confident in my cooking when it comes to Italian food, making it a ripe area for me to focus on to take my cooking skills to the next level. Hmmm, I thought to myself, what if I were to cook nothing but Italian food for a solid month? Nate wouldn’t mind eating it. It would be good for my skills. I most certainly wouldn’t mind eating it…
On further thought, however, I realized that a). I have way more than a month’s worth of posts to dedicate to Italian food, b). this might not be the most diet-friendly decision to make, and c). um. It’s already halfway through the month. How did that happen? Where did September go? Instead, I decided to introduce an ongoing sub-series of Italian posts, scattered throughout my other blog posts, all to be filed under the umbrella of…. (drumroll, please):
Each post belonging to the series will be introduced with The Spaghetti Capers logo above, letting this investigation of Italian cooking continue on indefinitely. I hope you’ll join me for the adventure! First post to follow shortly.
Now back to the festival. Sunday, August 29th, we headed down to the North End for the final day of the three day Saint Anthony’s Feast. According to their website, the feast is the largest Italian religious festival in New England, and is now in its 91st year. The highlight of the feast is the ten hour procession of the statue of St. Anthony throughout the streets of the North End. Donations are pinned to St. Anthony–often by people leaning out of their second floor apartment windows–babies are kissed… It’s truly a spectacle.
The secondary highlight of the feast is, of course, the food. (Bless the Italians. Really.)
All the classics were covered: spicy Italian sausages… (this photo’s for you, Dad!)
Cannolis, filled to order…
and plenty of tomatoes and basil.
Myself, I was excited to try the zeppoli, which are basically a cross between a donut and fried dough. I’d read about them in some of my cookbooks, but never eaten any, and was not disappointed by the taste.
This one kinda looks like a turtle, don’t you think?
Oops, not anymore!
They were sweet and hot and filling, so all I had room for next was a small calamari, olive, and celery salad — delicious!
It was a brilliantly sunny day, and therefore hot, so after settling down on a curb to eat our snacks, we decided it was time to head home…after one last stop at Salumeria Italiana for some of that amazing prosciutto I originally discovered for my sister’s elopement, and a couple of snacks from Lyndell’s Bakery. More on the ensuing spaghetti capers from that detour at a later date, though (hint, hint)…