About Amanda

I’m a disgruntled Metro-North commuter by morning, real estate journalist by day, insomniac by night, and cancer butt-kicker for life.

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A Loaf Of Bread That’s Nearly 70 Years Old

Although we celebrated St. Joseph’s Day a little early this year, I wanted to show you two traditional items from the feast day, which falls on March 19.

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Above is traditional Sicilian dish called pasta con le sarde, made with sardines, fennel, tomatoes, pine nuts, and raisins (or currants) and traditionally served on the feast day.

The bread, though, is not for eating. My great-grandmother baked it nearly 70 years ago, promising to St. Joseph that she would bake a loaf of bread for everyone on her Brooklyn street if my grandfather (named Giuseppe, the Italian form of Joseph) came home whole from World War II. He did, and she kept her promise. The bread was then blessed.

My grandmother kept the bread, wrapped in the cloth napkin, in a drawer. When we moved in with my grandmother 20 years ago, my mom found the bread and asked my grandmother why she didn’t display the bread. Well, that night was our answer—a little mouse (which we didn’t know we had) came and nibbled a bit off the end of the loaf. Back in the draw it went for safekeeping, and since then, it’s only brought out on March 19.

It’s amazing how intact the bread is, considering it’s nearly 70 years old. If you didn’t know it was as hard as a brick, you’d think it was fresh and edible. There’s been no mold, shrinkage, or any other nibbles since (given its age, we’re soon going to buy a glass display case for it). It’s truly an amazing piece of my family’s history.

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