Friday, December 9, 2011

Winter Flowers & Feast of the Seven Fishes.

Some believe that it's inconsiderate to bring flowers to a party because the host will have to stop and take the time to cut stems and search for the right vase.  If you have a garden or live near a great florist (or here in NYC, a deli!), why not cut and create your own arrangement and provide the right sized vase?  If it's a short walk, drive or train ride to the party, lightly dampen a cute kitchen towel and wrap the bouquet at the bottom--all your host will have to do is put water in the great vase you provided!  She can keep the kitchen towel for post party clean-up.

Some of my favorite winter flowers to create holiday arrangements are: Amaryllis, protea, snow balls, poppies, evergreen, holly berry, and the lovely Star of Bethlehem.   Note, if you are on a budget, buy one or two beautiful buds, and then fill in with lots of greenery which will make the colorful buds pop in your arrangement.

The Feast of the Seven Fishes is a popular Italian tradition, celebrated on Christmas Eve.  This feast originated in Southern Italy, and the idea is to serve seven different seafood dishes.  Two of the stars on this menu are often smoked eel and fried baccala. You can get very creative with variations of your dishes or even make seven different fish-based appetizers and supplement your table with antipasto and pasta.

My friend Melanie's family annually celebrates this tradition. I found this cute little hostess gift for her of copper measuring spoons. (
Why seven? There are many theories, one ties to the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church, others say it symbolizes the church's seven virtues: faith, hope, charity, temperance, prudence, fortitude and justice.

If you have any great recipes for this traditional feast, send them my way!  



Melanie said...


Heather King said...

Thanks Hil! Robins grandparents used to have my dad, sister and I over and we would celebrate Christmas Eve with the feast of 7 Fishes. They are from Sicily and boy can her grandmother cook! Miss it terribly. Bobby still has her make him vats of sauce! We used to do calamari, anchovies, baccala, sardines and then the wine kicked in, lol! Cant remember the rest of the feast...anyways, I digress, good times! Merry Christmas Hil!

Mermaids and Martinis said...

Thanks Heather, I love hearing about authentic Italian meals which I know were abundant over the years and LOVE that you did all classics, like baccala and sardines! Merry, merry Miss!