Friday, November 21, 2008

Saint Martin's Fritters

November 11 is the feast day of St. Martin of Tours. In Molfetta this day is celebrated with the preparation of fritters, or frittelle, as they are called in Italian.

Since the 11th was during the week, we invited friends over for a frittelle-making party last Sunday. I'm not the kind of hostess who will have everything ready when you arrive. Our friends know that an invitation to lunch is a collaborative event and so they come ready to work.

In the top picture my husband is preparing the filling for one type of frittelle, with mozzarella, scamorza and chopped tomatoes. The hands across from him belong to my friend Sveta, who is cutting the chestnuts and soaking them in water so that when they are cooked the skins will come off more easily.

To the left is the filling my husband was working on and below is another made of saute├Ęd onions, tomatoes and olives (my favorite!).

Here Annalaura is frying empty fritters for the little kids, who don't like any of the fillings.

Nicola is roasting the chestnuts in a special pan that has round holes cut into the bottom to let a bit of the flame through.
Tomorrow I'll show you the finished products...
Saint Martin is famous for having cut his cloak in half and given the cut off bit to a poor man. He is a patron saint of France and of soldiers.
But, for some reason, he is celebrated in Italy as the patron saint of cuckolds. I have looked this up on the Internet, but I have yet to find a satisfactory explanation for the association.
Can any Italians out there tell me why?


Maria Verivaki said...

great post today. st martin is an unusual saint - not celebrated where we are, despite the fact that we are a former venetian colony. the food looks fantastic - are you going to give us the recipe for the pancake dough? i would like to know how you made the fillings too...

Historelli said...

Hi Sara,

On several occasiosn (after i eat my fritelle of course!) i've asked my older molfie relatives "why is St. Martin the patron saint of (i cornuti)cuckolds?" And of course, no one had a answer.

After conducting my own research on the life of St. Martin of Tours, i've come to the conclusion that maybe... the reference to cornuto is not specifically defining a cuckold man, but rather the symbol of cornuti (the horns)

The reason i believe this is because there is a story(legend) of the devil appearing to Saint Martin with a bloodied BUll horn in his right hand... Its a reach, but i've never heard of a better explanation..


Saretta said...

Thanks Historelli! I guess the origins of some traditions get lost in the mists of time...

Kiwi - I will send you some recipes, but please be patient, it may take me a while...