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X X List of Traditional Foods from Molise
Cuicina Molisana -- New Year's Day -- Meals -- Personal Recollections
Originated from: Casacalenda, Campobasso
Occasion: New Year's Day
Contributed by: Image courtesy of the New York Public Library, Digital Gallery #1588004

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New Year's Day Meal (ca. 1930s)
Home-made pasta in red sauce
Stewed meat in red sauce with salad
Stewed chicken in red sauce with salad
Baked chicken with potatoes with salad

Sweet Fritters


According to my mother (Mrs. Nina Melfi) prior to World War II the meal [lunch] for New Year's Day was similar to the one offered on Christmas Day in most households in Molise (Few households bothered to make large meals for New Year's Eve back then). The well-to-do obviously offered a larger variety of foods to their guests. Nonetheless, whether rich or poor, most households in Italy made "sweet fritters" as desserts for this particular time of year. They made a lot of them as individuals kept "open houses" and folk visited one relative after another, giving their best wishes, eating a few sweets and drinking a shot of home-made liqueur. At that time there were certain rules people had to follow on who "paid" the visit, and who received it. Younger individuals (e.g. nieces) were expected to visited their aunts and uncles, conversely, aunts and uncles were expected to visit their grandparents etc. Everyone had a good time, staying for an hour or so, and then moving on to the next "open house." In the 1950s Italians also kept "open houses" and visited each other (They even made home-made liqueurs!), but later in the 1970s most families stayed put and kept the celebrations within their "immediate families." Nonetheless, most Italian North Americans started to include on their Christmas and New Year's holiday menu every Italian-style cake and cookie under the sun, including "panetonne" which in the old days was only made for the Easter holidays....


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