Homage To Mother and Son

Happy Easter! Today marks the start of the “Archi di Pasqua,” or the Arches of Easter in San Biagio Platini in Agrigento Province. From now until May 6, the mountain town’s Corso Umberto (i.e., Main Street) will be decorated with elaborate archways, domes, and bell towers constructed using river reeds, willow, asparagus, bay leaf, rosemary,…

Cuccìa for Lucia

Cuccìa is a wheat berry (also barely, spelt, or farro) pudding made in honor of the Feast of Santa Lucia, the patron saint of wheat and grain. I made this cuccìa pictured, following the recipe in Giorgio Locatelli’s Made in Sicily cookbook. Cuccìa became the traditional dish of the December 13 feast because during the…

Crunchy On The Outside

Earlier this week, I mentioned that in the days leading up to and including La Festa di Santa Lucia, Palermitani don’t eat flour-based foods. So what do they eat then? Arancine, of course! Yes, these balls-of-gold are a masterpiece of Palermitano wheat-free street food, and Sicilians of the Conco d’Oro take their arancine very seriously…

Church Immaculate Conception

December 8 is the Festa dell’Immacolata or the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which is celebrated throughout Italy. One of the most breathtaking churches in all of Sicily is the baroque church, Chiesa dell’Immacolata Concezione (The Church of the Immaculate Conception) in Palermo, where this photo of me was taken earlier this year. Above the…

The Famine of 1646

In the days leading up to the Feast of Santa Lucia, December 13, many Sicilians refrain from eating pasta and only eat un-ground wheat grain, or “farro,” that is prepared as a dish called cuccìa. Devotees observe this ritual to remember the severe famine that struck Siracusa and Palermo in 1646. During that time of…

A Faithful Maiden

Under the ancient Roman calendar, December 13 was the shortest day of the year: the winter solstice. Under our modern Gregorian calendar, the solstice in 2017 falls on December 21. In Sicily, December 13 is still recognized as a celebration of light, when they celebrate the Feast of Santa Lucia, the patron saint of the…