I wore red today because it's St. Joseph's Day and mentioned that fact to a few of my co-workers who said, "You're not Italian, are you?" The answer is no. Not even close. But my family's ethnic history is frankly so boring that we have adopted everyone else's traditions. On St. Patrick's Day, I wore green, drank black-and-tans (a mix of a stout and ale or lager), and ate corned beef and cabbage, even though I'm not Irish either. I have my family tree on both sides of my family traced back to the 1630's in England. There aren't any British holidays that we celebrate here in the U.S., and there are even fewer culinary traditions. You don't see any restaurants serving Finnan Haddie or Yorkshire pudding these days. if you don't know what those are, you're proving my point. I'll bet most people can't even NAME an English food tradition. In my family Yorkshire Pudding and pork pie were staples.
To me, today is what America is all about. Celebrating the ethnic diversity that this great "Lively Experiment" created. On Cinqo de Mayo we all enjoy Mexican food, right? Around Passover my wife and I like to stop by Rainbow Bakery to get a Challah bread loaf. On Christmas eve we even had our own Festa Virgilio (Feast of the Virgin) and observed the Italian tradition of feasting on seven fishes.
Now here's my point....With all the strife and racial tension in the world today, we should all just shut up and enjoy our differences. As Bill Murray's character said in the movie "Stripes," our ancestors were kicked out of every decent country in the world! That binds us together as Americans. Stop complaining about each other and dig into the awesomeness of this big stew we call America.
Tonight, for our St.Joe's feast my wife and I will enjoy pasta, meatballs made from scratch and Italian sausage in our homemade meat sauce, followed by zeppoles for dessert. My family was from Cranston so we say "zay-po-leh" but I'm OK with you saying "zep-o-lee" if it makes you happy. (New Yorkers say Zep-o-lee, so I'm personally averse to that pronunciation because in general, I feel that New Yorkers are wrong about everything, especially the teams they root for.) To take this ethnic jumble thing a step further, I even bought today's zeppoles from Rainbow Bakery, a Jewish bakery in Cranston. (I did however, get my first batch of the season from the original Italian Bakery in Johnston.)
How great is it that within a three day span we can say both "Erin go Bragh" and "Buon San Giuseppe!" (By the way, in Italy, today is Father's Day, so kiss your dad or give him a call.)