What are we going to have??

This time of year my father's favorite question was 'What are we going to have'?

We kick off the discussion by making fun of the Italian- American "tradition" of 7 fishes on Christmas eve "I got news for ya!, there arent seven different fishes in the whole Mediterranean Sea..." and we call it "Da Feast of da 76 fishes." etc. etc.

These jokes are followed up by an earnest discussion of what is an appropriate meal, since Christmas Eve is kind of a penitential day in preparation for the birth of Jesus. My father discusses eels which his father used to always eat on Christmas eve with bitter greens. Eels being one of the few foods my dad wouldn't even consider eating; we quickly depart from the idea and get down to making a menu.

This usually includes: linguini and clams, (pasta is always controversial, is it too rich? should we have something simpler?) baked cod, scallops and maybe a tuna salad.

My dad always bought the fish, insisted on it 'You kids cant afford fish these days!' and then we launch into the "You used to be able to get lobster for a quarter, nobody wanted it!" conversation... I dont even know where to buy good fish.

Its a bit like Narnia 'Always winter, never Christmas' around here. The great lion is gone...

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