2. While Dylan McDermott and all other non-Italians are busy eating turkey on Christmas…
You just had turkey for Thanksgiving. What’s the prob? You didn’t have enough leftovers?
3. Italians are eating pasta. And lots of it.
That’s pasta with clams, in case your mouth starts to water with questions.
4. It all starts on Christmas Eve with the Feast of the Seven Fishes, or “Esta dei Sette Pesci.”
A traditional Christmas Eve dinner is a meal that consists of seven seafood items, but some Italians have up to 13. And the types of seafood range anywhere from lobster to calamari, fried to grilled, and served alone or on top of pasta. (But we all want the pasta, right?)
The feast originated from the Roman Catholic tradition of abstaining from meat and dairy on Fridays and holy days. So, since the Italians couldn’t celebrate waiting for the birth of baby Jesus with meat, they turned to fish. Lots of fish.
5. And by “Feast of the Seven Fishes,” I’m talking about fish pasta, like puttanesca.
For those who haven’t tried this dish — and you MUST — it’s a sauce with olives, capers, anchovies, and tomatoes. It’s also topped with cheese, but if it’s Italian then that’s pretty much a given.
6. And pasta with lobster.
Usually this one comes sans the thick tomato sauce. Lobster goes perfectly well with the spaghetti, some black pepper, salt, and garlic.
7. It also means spaghetti with mussels…
8. And cioppino, if you want to knock out a bunch of different types of fish in one pot.
It’s a legit kettle of fish.
9. Basically, the night before Christmas, Italians just get to gorge on a bunch of absolutely fantastic fish.
Then when we wake up, Santa has come and left presents under the tree for us. It’s like we had a Christmas the night before, and get to relive it the next morning, basically.
10. Oh, and did I mention that you wash it all down with some fine Italian vino?
11. Then there’s Christmas day. You ready for this? Because it starts with more alcohol.
12. After opening gifts, and before Christmas dinner even begins, there’s the antipasto platter.
Think ham, capicola, prosciutto, salami, turkey, provolone and pecorino cheeses, black olives, artichoke hearts, red roasted peppers, and vinegar peppers. So many things.
13. Which is served with some fresh Italian bread, like ciabatta, pane Siciliano, focaccia, or pane di Lariano.
Make sure to save room and not load up on bread, because this is only the beginning of the carb fest.
14. Next, it’s time for the main event — dinner — which means it’s time to BRING ON THE MEATBALLS.
Seriously, the meatballs are just one part of the meal. Get ready.
15. Much like the Feast of Seven Fishes, Christmas day is basically the Feast of Meats, like braciole and pasta.
Braciole is a thin slice of meat that’s typically wrapped around a stuffing, cooked with wine, and tossed over pasta. It will make you forget the meatballs ever happened, then weep with tears of joy.
16. And lasagna!
Anyone who loves nice things loves lasagna. Italians just get to have it every Christmas. And a lot of other times, because we are just that awesome.
17. Instead of sides of mashed potatoes, we have sides of pasta, and sausage, and homemade sauce.
Just stating the facts, folks!
18. After dinner settles, while Dylan McDermott eats pie, we eat struffoli.
Struffoli is like a munchkin doughtnut, but smaller and tastier. It’s lemony dough that’s fried, then covered with honey and sprinkles. Beat that, pecan pie!
19. And cannoli.
Sicilians brought us some amazing things, including the inspiration for The Godfather series and cannolis. These ricotta-cream pastries are surrounded by a fried shell and often include chocolate chip morsels.
Ladyfingers, cocoa, heavy cream, and espresso are just a few of the ingredients in this dessert. Drooling yet?
21. And sfogliatelle.
Looks pretty cool, right? All of those pastry layers surround an almond or ricotta filling, typically.
22. And so many rainbow cookies that you might go colorblind.
23. And like all good Italians, the meal ends with fruit, more spumante, and panettone.
Panettone is a type of sweet bread made with oranges and currants. Sort of like our version of fruit cake, only better.
24. So, what I’m saying is this: Would you like to come to my Italian Christmas dinner?
You look like you could use some pasta right about now.