Dec
27

Christmas addendum

By

I left you with images of raw fish and a gnomic reference to the Christmas Forcola (not to be confused with the Great Pumpkin).  I think you deserve to see how they came out.

This is what the risotto made from the go' looks like.  Perhaps you can intuit from the look of it that the last step is to add butter.  How could it not be great?  If this dish was to found on any Venetian table other than ours, I would be very happy to know it.

This is what risotto made from go' looks like. Perhaps you can intuit from the look of it that the last step is to add butter. How could it not be great? If this dish was to be found on any Venetian table other than ours, though, I would be very happy to know it.

And this is the grilled eel.  True, it doesn't look dramatically different than when it was raw, but I think it tasted a whole lot better.

And this is the grilled eel. True, it doesn't look dramatically different than when it was raw, but I think it tasted a whole lot better.

The Christmas Forcola. For me, the only thing cooler than decorating it would be to row it in this state. But I know beyond any doubt that the mere suggestion would be thrown down the well of Discarded Americanate. In any case, I like to think that the forcola enjoys being used for something, anyway.

The Christmas Forcola. For me, the only thing cooler than decorating it would be to row it in this state. But I know beyond any doubt that the mere suggestion would be thrown down the well of Discarded Americanate. In any case, I like to think that the forcola enjoys being used for something.

One of the best Nativity scenes I've yet discovered, here in the church of San Biagio.  It has many imaginative touches but two flaws which concern me.

One of the best Nativity scenes I've yet discovered, here in the church of San Biagio. It has many imaginative touches but two flaws which concern me.

We have all the fundamental components here except for one thing.  Where's the manger?  I tried to convince Lino that a hayrack could be serving the same purpose, but he wasn't buying it.  He was also not so keen on the fact that Mary is holding the Baby Jesus when he's supposed to be lying in the manger.  But if there isn't one......

First flaw: We have all the fundamental components here except for one thing. Where's the manger? I tried to convince Lino that a hayrack could perhaps serve the same purpose, but he wasn't buying it. He was also not so keen on the fact that Mary is holding the Baby Jesus when he's supposed to be lying in the manger. But if there isn't one......

For my part, much as I love this domestic scene (two bonus points for the laundry hanging out to dry), I can't get past the fact that there is a pig.  I don't insist on the manger, but I can't see any justification on this earth for there being a pig.  I must speak to the priest.

Second flaw: Much as I love this domestic scene (two bonus points for the laundry hanging out to dry), I can't get past the fact that there is a pig. I don't insist on the manger, but I can't see any justification on this earth for there being a pig. I must speak to the priest.

But while his/their imagination was running wild, it came up with a very nice addition to the traditional cast of characters: Fishermen, with net and fish.  In the upper left corner is a small waterfall, which adds a nice sound to the atmosphere.  I'm not convinced that fishermen are likely to be out at night in the way the shepherds were, but I'll still go with it.  After all, they've put in a pig.  A couple of fish can't matter, especially when you remember its symbolic value.

But while their imaginations were running wild, the designers came up with a very nice addition to the traditional cast of characters: Fishermen, with net and fish. In the upper left corner is a small waterfall, which adds a nice sound to the atmosphere. I'm not convinced that fishermen are likely to be out at night in the way the shepherds were, but I'll still go with it. After all, they've put in a pig. A couple of fish can't matter, especially when you remember their symbolic value.

Returning from the perplexing sacred to the reassuringly profane, a batch of Santas have asked to wish you all a good night.  I let them stay up just this once.

Returning from the perplexing sacred to the reassuringly profane, a batch of Santas have asked to wish you all a good night. I let them stay up just this once.

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Categories : Venetian Food

Comments

  1. Hello! Pigs could be present in the nativity. Remember that not all habitants of the Holy Land were jewish 2000 years ago, quite a lot were pagans! In fact the gospel cites, how the teaching Jesus and his disciplines once met a herd of 2,000 pigs near the city of Gadara. Jesus purged the devils from two madmen and had them embed in the pigs, which then ran into the nearby Genesaret Lake and all drowned. (Mt 8-28-34, Mark 5,1-20, Lucas 8,26-39)

    • Erla Zwingle says:

      You are completely correct and I’m glad you took the trouble to write. To take it several steps further, if you ever visit Naples, you should go to the street of San Gregorio dei Librai and look at some of the Nativity-scene shops. They’ve got figurines of everybody — Diego Maradona, Bill Clinton, Toto’, undoubtedly Kim Kardashian and Bristol Palin — which you can add to your O Holy Night cast pf characters. Pigs are nothing.

  2. Randy Bosch says:

    An interesting article!
    The Venetian traditional Christmas dinner since the Bronze Age cannot be as you describe it, as the Bronze Age ended at least 7 centuries BCE !!
    Rice may have been known primarily due to imports through Altinum from the Levant and Egypt where it was cultivated perhaps before 700AD, and some may have been bartered for fish from the Lagoon residents prior to the establishment of Venice as it is known today.
    Good to keep trying to run away from Americanate like rewriting history about Christmas in Venice!

    • Erla says:

      My reference to the Bronze Age was just an expression, an attempt at humor which I see was not successful. I’ll keep at it, but don’t guess I can win them all. Meanwhile, I would hazard that it would be more likely that the Lagoon residents sold the salt they produced (I doubt that they bartered), considering how valuable a commodity salt was, and how relatively rare, unlike fish. About your comment on my “rewriting history” — that would be an attempt at humor? If so, not successful.

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