In early December our store and most of the others in the neighborhood began to take on a holiday look. My father always decorated the large windows with laurel roping and a wreath on the door. Inside, there were baskets of figs imported from Italy and sacks of hard-shelled nuts, the most popular being walnuts and hazelnuts, or nocciole. Later in t...

Josephine Ferre came to Castle Garden with the hope of many Italian immigrants. She wanted a better life in America. Tucked with her were four children and a nativity set that now belongs to her great-granddaughter Annette Isgan of Somerset. Isgan thinks about what her relative went through when it’s put on in decoration. “We cherish it very much....

Chingedy ching, hee haw, hee haw! Christmas Eve is right around the corner and there’s no better way to kick off the holiday than joining us back at the table for Part Two of the Italian American Power Hour Christmas Eve Spectacular.  As we wind down our incredible fish feast and polish off the last drops of far too much homemade vino, our conversa...

The Italian Market in South Philadelphia was packed with shoppers who were all packing their shopping bags with lots of fixins' for Christmas. "I have Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, fresh figs,” said one Italian Market shopper. She joined hundred heading to Isgro Pastries shop at 10th and Christian Street, like Maria from Las Vegas. "You can't visit...

Every country has its own unique Christmas traditions, and Italy may not be the first European country you’d associate with winter cosiness. But the country goes all out for the holidays, and does Christmas bigger and, we think, better than anywhere else. If you’re a fan of all things festive, here’s why Italy is the place to be. Rome’s beleaguered...

It is said that every recipe has a story behind it. This statement rings especially true among Italian Americans, for whom the significance of food extends far beyond sustenance, and cooking is among the most visible expressions of identity and pride. Eating rituals figured prominently in the Italo American immigration experience. Distinct food and...

As a font of indelible folk characters, Christmas beats all other holidays: Santa, Rudolph, Tiny Tim, the Grinch, David Sedaris, you name it. In the Charleston section of Staten Island, there is also a retired Pepsi foreman named Joseph DiMartino, who in 2002 — the year after his wife, Debra Ann, was killed in the World Trade Center attack — began...

The average Christmas Day meal is enough to fill your belly for a good few days. Turkey. Meats. Vegetables. Potatoes. Italians have the right idea by abstaining from meat on Christmas Eve. Instead, the tradition is for Italians to eat fish dishes. But even with this common practice, another tradition is to go to town with the fish meals on 24th Dec...

Barbara Falzone The clink clink clink of clams being scrubbed in the sink. The smell of fried shrimp. Beautiful whole lobsters cleaned and baking in a spicy tomato sauce. Aglio e oglio gently purring in the frying pan to make the clam sauce. The tree glowing, music playing, my mom and aunt in their Christmas aprons. My most favorite night of the ye...

On Christmas Eve this year, like every other year, my family will start with the clam dip fresh out of the oven. As the clam dip cools down there's the "pizza" (really just bread with stuff on it) and some salami to snack on, as well as two plates of zeppole (one stuffed with chocolate, one with anchovies — pick carefully). Around 3 p.m. we'll get...