St. Joseph pasta-making day began with Franco and the gentlemen heading over to Gloucester Fraternity to make huge batches of pasta dough with the Fraternity’s new mixer machine. Thanks were given to the club’s Mario for making it possible. Back at the Groppo’s kitchen, Nina and Fina were making steamy hot vats of homemade ricotta on the stovetop to serve for breakfast to all the helpers. Friends and family arrived in waves throughout the day and all were there to lend a hand making pasta.
After all the St. Joseph Day pasta that was needed was made, an extra batch of pasta was made for we pasta-makers. Nina heated up her divinely delicious tomato sauce that she had canned over the summer, with tomatoes from her garden. We had a wonderful lunch feast and as I looked around the table at the many generations gathered, I thought of the memories being made that will be cherished by all, created from this very special community tradition of honoring Saint Joseph each year at the welcoming home of the Groppo Family.
With love and gratitude to the Groppo family and friends. My most heartfelt thanks to all and especially to Nina and Frank.
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During this year’s round of filming for Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project, I had the wonderful good fortune to stop at Caffe Sicilia just as Maria Cracchiolo was about to decorate her signature Cassata Siciliana.
It was the morning of Saint Joseph Day and as you can imagine, Caffe Sicilia was bustling to fill the day’s special orders of delicious Sicilian pastries and altar breads. Nevertheless, I asked Maria if she would mind if I filmed her while she decorated the cake. No, not all, she graciously allowed. Maria is so deft at cake making that it took her only minutes to create this masterpiece. It’s all been captured for our film project! The Vine below gives a tiny glimpse of Maria’s artistry.
Cassata Siciliana is also traditionally served at Easter time. What a gorgeous gift Caffe Sicilia’s cassata would make to share at your family’s Easter celebration, which as you may know is coming up very soon, in less than two weeks, on Sunday, April 5th. Believe me when I write, Maria’s Cassata Siciliaina tastes as good as it looks–divine, actually! A partial list of the ingredients includes sponge cake, ricotta, liquor, marzipan, royal icing, and candied fruit.
Special orders may be placed by calling Caffe Sicilia at 978-283-7345.
Thank you Crocetta and friends for permitting filming during your beautiful feast day. It has been the most joyful experience getting to know you and sharing in this very special tradition.
I think I speak for many in expressing a most heartfelt thanks to Nina for welcoming us all to the Feast of Saint Joseph. Nina’s loving kindness and generous spirit shone forth throughout. Everyone is most sincerely welcome to the Groppo Feast of San Giuseppe, and it is a welcome that is deeply felt.
After weeks of preparations performed by a troupe of friends and family, the guests began to arrive at the Groppo home at 11:30. The tables were set, traditional Sicilian salads and desserts arrayed, the Saint Joseph sauce simmering, the pasta cooking, and the many vats of oil needed to fry the tremendous quantities of fresh fish and vegetables were manned by an army of captains. We were ready! Lunch time drew a great crowd taking a break from work, office workers eating alongside dock workers, then followed by a steady stream of diners coming after school hours.
At 5:00 a beautiful prayer service was held where at the end everyone stood shoulder to shoulder, holding hands, singing, and praying. The loving spirit of Saint Joseph, and the love and kindness of family and friends sharing a tradition together, was felt by all.
And then more hungry guests began to arrive, and arrive they did, all through the evening!
And just in case you weren’t throughly filled to the brim, departing guests were sent home with armfuls of food– Saint Joseph sauce, homemade desserts, and in Gloucester’s tradition of celebrating the Feast of San Giuseppe, a bag containing bread, lemon, and an orange. The lemon symbolizes life’s bitter past; the orange, the sweetness in life; and the bread so you will never go hungry.
Words cannot accurately express my gratitude and appreciation to everyone that has participated in the filming of Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph community film project. My sincerest hope is that the film will hold stories and moments for all to treasure.
I promise everyone I won’t include any embarrassing scenes where your mouth is full of food!