Now, don’t get me wrong, we all can still enjoy Cooked Goose and Roast Beast but if you want to truly take pleasure in a holiday dish, try making some of these pockets of fried deliciousness. On Sunday, December 5th, the MHC decided to do just that by celebrating the start of the Christmas season with the first annual “Frittelle Night.” Helped out by Betty Minervini and Anna Scardigno, two members of the Federazione Molfettesi D’America, our group learned how to make the dough, knead the dough and then shape the dough to form the perfect Frittelle shape. Several types of filling were available including mozzarella and tomato, ricotta, onions and the always regrettable, empty frittelle with no filling inside.
For dessert, MHC member Robert Gigante showcased the amazing combo of frittelle filled with Nutella. The initial trepidation of combining these two Italian culinary juggernauts quickly subsided after the first bite. Frittelle and Nutella is a match made in Molfie heaven.
The start of frittelle season begins on November 11, which is the feast of Saint Martin of Tours. Better known as San Martino to Italians, he was a fourth century son of a Roman soldier who later converted to Christianity. He is also considered the patron saint of wine, soldiers and for some reason, cuckolds… Every year I ask the older generation why Saint Martin is associated with cuckolds and every year I fail to get an explanation.
Perhaps, this storied tradition has little to do with men and unfaithful wives but rather recounts Saint Martin’s role in denouncing old pagan rituals.
According to legend, the devil appeared to Saint Martin many times with hopes of tricking him out of his faith. On one occasion, he showed up with a bloodied bull horn in his right hand signifying how he had killed one of Martin’s followers. After this vision, Saint Martin realized that the horn, always an ancient symbol of fertility, was in actuality a representation of the devil. As a result, Saint Martin retaliated by destroying pagan temples and all other vestiges of the old horned god. Today, Molfettesi all over world honor this story by anointing San Martino as the patron saint of “i cornuti” or cuckolds. I have no idea how that relates to frittelle….
images © R. Gigante & L. La Forgia (2010)