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St. Joseph’s Altar

Thursday, March 14, 2013:
     Good Morning Foodies!  Ok, don’t get your panties all in a bunch, because you think I have the dates mixed up.  I am actually giving you a heads up for the upcoming feast day.  Growing up Italian, ST. JOSEPH’S DAY, was a big deal.  For those of you, who are not familiar with the customs that support this day, I am going to give you a quick run-down.
     The feast day is March 19th.  Months and months, before the actual day, the women would start making food for that day which could feed the masses.  Jesus thought he was something when he could feed the 5000 plus with bread and fish—he should see these women.  They could feed the world and then some.  The men came to the home that was to hold the event and build the biggest altar they could from the floor to the ceiling.  There would not be a single inch of space not covered by food.  The other tradition was that children from the area were chosen to represent the HOLY FAMILY.  They would set the children at a table in front of the altar.  The altar was blessed. Then, the children had to sample every item on the altar, before it was passed around to the guests.  Let me tell you, I was MARY, at the age of 6.  I promise you the only thing I cared about eating was the pasta and desserts.  Now, if you were to put me at that table today, NO PROBLEM EATING EVERYTHING.
     I can remember in my GRANDMOTHER’S house, when they would make the pasta from scratch.  The whole dining and living room was lined up with chairs that had broom handles stretched across the tops to suspend the pasta noodles.  Many a time, we were swatted with that wooden spoon, because we would try to do the LIMBO under the noodles.  They did not see the humor in that.  For me, that was such a fun time.  All the grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. joined in the celebration.  I truly missed those days!  I know in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, there are some ST. JOSEPH ALTARS and there is one here in Opelousas.  OUR LADY OF MERCY CHURCH always hosts one every year!  If you have not ever attended one, you should try it once in your life time, even if you are not Catholic.  Next week, I will post some of the foods that I dearly remember from the altar.  Have a great weekend!!
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