Sunday, March 20, 2011

St. Joseph's Day

From what I have gathered, St. Joseph's Day is sort of like an Italian Father's Day. It is only appropriate then that yesterday my father gave us the gift of rainbows. It was an unusually sunny day in the PNW and light was streaming in through the dining room window. My little helper started shouting, "There are rainbows in here!!!" The sun was hitting the bevels in the antique window from my dad. It made my son so happy to play with all the rainbows cast on the floor; and I said a specially little thank you to my dad, wishing that he could be here with us to enjoy his grandsons.
My little helper is very observant and has a good visual memory. He has lots of favorite statues around town. He likes to drive by the "Chinese gate with the two stone lions", the "Momma and baby elephant", the "Elk with the big red bow", and the "White St. Joseph." Heaven help me if there are no statues on our car ride! I thought it would be a nice idea to take an offering of flowers to the St. Joseph statue since it is in walking distance. The statue is in front of the old Mt. St. Joseph nursing home. One of my great grandmothers actually lived there for a while and I have memories of visiting her there when I was very young. I also remember the St. Joseph statue as a landmark on the way to another grandma's house.
I picked some of the Lenten roses in our garden and we picked up a few yellow, weedy blooms along the way. I put them in a paper cup weighted down with rocks. We had a nice little walk and bike ride over there. Although he was not keen on having to get off his bike at first, he was very happy once he started carrying the bouquet up the steps. Once we put the flowers up there we noticed the plaque on the back dedicating the statue in 1948.I tried out two new recipes from my Italian Holiday Cooking cookbook. The first was Poor Man's fava beans (Fave di povere). Several of the St. Joseph's day recipes in this book call for fava beans which leads me to believe that they must be in season in late winter/ early spring. However I have never been able to locate fresh or dried fava beans in Portland, and only a few store carry the canned variety. So I had to improvise this recipe a little using canned beans. It turned out pretty good, we enjoyed all the flavors and the combination of beans and greens. It really could have been the main, stand alone dish.The second recipe I tried was St. Joseph's pasta (pasta di San Giuseppe). I decided to try this in spite of the fact that I don't like anchovies. It's Lent so I can handle a little sacrifice. This dish was weird. It is definitely a peasant dish. Essentially pasta flavored with breadcrumbs and anchovy oil. It tastes like Lent. I don't think I'll be making this one again anytime soon.My St. Joseph's altar was much smaller this year because I just didn't have that much time. We still had a pretty table setting and a nice meal together.More great ideas for St. Joseph altars here:


  1. "Taste like Lent" - had to chuckle here - - fava beans are hard to find here in Hagerstown, MD area, too - - so it's not just Portland!

    God Bless!

  2. Thank you, Mrs W, for joining in the St. Joseph Altar blog fest! I've prepared those dry favas and they are tough cookies! Thanks again for sharing your beautiful family celebration with us. Viva San Giuseppe!

  3. Hi Mrs. W.!
    Thank you for stopping by my St. Joseph Altar post and commenting! I loved reading this post of yours! The story you tell of your father sending you rainbows is beautiful and what a special way to remember St. Joseph by taking time with your son to place flowers in front of his statue! I loved the pictures of your recipes you tried and I too chuckled at the dish that "tasted like Lent" :) Your altar with the flowers, fruit, and statue looks lovely! Thanks for sharing your feast day celebration with us! God bless!

  4. Hi Heather! Love that you have a blog!! Now you need a really cool you know how to change it up? Come check out my design and be a follower too. I don't post that often, but I've been blogging for years. It's good to see pictures of the kids and wine on your table!!

  5. Hi Jaimee! Yes, I have been following your blog. No, I have no clue how to change my blog's look! I'm quite helpless still when it comes to computer stuff. :)