Carnevale is in full swing! There are celebrations all over the world in the days leading up to Lent, in what are, or formally were, Catholic countries. Called
carnevale in Italy, the word literally meant "
a removal of meat" - "
meat goodbye!" and began as an acknowledgment that they would soon be faced with
40 days of fasting from meat before Easter. It evolved into a decadent celebration of masked parties and rich foods, before Ash Wednesday reminds us all that "man thou art dust and unto dust thou shall return." In the USA there are numerous "
mardi gras" or
"Fat Tuesday" celebrations and parades and the largest being in New Orleans.
In Italy, the most famous city celebrating
Venice, but many of the cities and towns in Italy have their own special and historical carnevale celebrations. From
Cento in the Emilia Romagna region near Ferrara with their month long festival to Ivrea in the Piedmont region with their parade and large food fight with oranges symbolizing their rebellion against feudal lords, they all celebrate the season before Lent and the coming spring.
There are special dishes that are key to their celebrations.
Some of our favorites are a rich, meat filled lasagna from either the Veneto region or Naples and the Campania region. What better way to celebrate than with a delicious meal of homemade pasta layers filled with meats, cheeses and sauces! Below is a recipe for one that we love. Chock full of meat balls, sausage balls, mozzarella and ricotta, this rich lasagna is a celebration of the Napolitano kitchen. It was originally a rich expression of eating well and fully before the privations of Lenten sacrifice and penitence.
Gina and Mary