Day 78/365 – Happy St Joseph’s Day

Happy St Joseph’s Day to all the Joes, Joeys, Josephs and Guiseppes in my life..  The feast day of St. Joseph is celebrated on March 19 every year

Truth be told, we have too many to count. When the family gets together, we go through the usual “My Joe, Your Joe, Joe Jr, Joe Snr, Big Joe, Little Joe, Joseph, Guiseppe, Joey”  It sounds confusing but it seems to work somehow.. Everyone knows who everyone is supposed to be.. HAHA!!

St. Joseph’s Day is a Roman Catholic feast day commemorating the life of St. Joseph, the step-father of Jesus and husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. People with very strong religious association, often those of southern Italian descent, typically celebrate St. Joseph’s Day. March 19 is said to be St. Joseph’s birthday.

During a famine in Sicily, when food was scarce and many people were starving, the poor people had only their faith to rely on. St. Joseph was known as the protector of the Holy Family and Italians had strong family relationships, so they prayed for St. Joseph to intercede for them so they could have successful crops. Their prayers were answered, and the famine came to an end. In gratitude, people promised to make annual offerings of their most precious possession – food – in St. Joseph’s honor.

Today, the faithful erect “St. Joseph Tables,” which are set to honor St. Joseph. They are filled with beautiful and often elaborate foods, including meatless dishes such as stuffed artichokes, pasta and fish, as well as breads, cookies, pastries, cakes and other delicacies. Each table is blessed by a priest and presided over by a statue of St. Joseph. A stalk of lily blossoms, votive candles and a lace tablecloth are other typical items used to decorate the feast table.

When you visit a St. Joseph’s table, you often receive gifts of fava beans and breads. Fava beans play an integral part of the celebration because this was the food that saved the Sicilians from starvation. The bean is said to bring good luck, and it is believed that if the St. Joseph’s bread is kept in the home, the family will never starve.


St. Joseph’s Sfinge I

Sphinx Puffs, St. Joseph’s Cream Puffs

The traditional dessert for St. Joseph’s Day is a cream puff known as Sfinge di San Giuseppe.In some areas it is fried, but this recipe is a puff pastry. This recipe is a must for the tradition of St. Joseph’s Table or Altar.


To make your puffs, combine flour, butter, water, salt, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook and stir until the mass leaves the side of the pan. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add a little grated orange and lemon peel. Drop by tablespoon on a baking sheet; bake at 400° F. for 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 350° F. for another 25 minutes.

Stir until smooth the ricotta, chocolate, sugar, a little grated orange peel, and a generous dash of crème de cacaoand use this to fill your puffs when they have cooled.

 Recipe Source: Feast Day Cookbook by Katherine Burton and Helmut Ripperger, David McKay Company, Inc., New York, 1951


I left the house a little earlier today, so I could stop to pick one up for my hubby.. He looks forward to it every year. It’s funny how traditions work. Over the years, he’s gotten cards from his parents, with mom passing last year and dad almost so forgetful, I know holidays like today, even though not huge, impacts him ever so slightly.

So here I am waiting patiently for him to get to the office, so I can have piece.. hehe.  Tonight, I plan to make his favorite dish of Fava Beans with Escarole. 😀