There are so many stories of the Christmas Eve dinner, La Vigilia, that I need not re-do what has been written so often. But this is one that may be a little different.
My Dad was one who tried many things when he went to a restaurant. I thought it was something he acquired as he got older, but as I think of the Christmas Eve dinner, I remember his most ardent request at that time… pickled pigs feet. It was his only time and only chance to have them.
Yes, my Dad loved pickled pigs feet and the only time my Mom would tolerate it was at Christmas. So she bought them.
“Peter. You know it’s not fish.”
“Of course I do, Anna. But I love them. And they are close to fish because they’re white. You know… La Vigilia in bianco.”
“Oh, get off,” she replied… and complied.
Off he went to a corner of the kitchen, sat with a mopine in his lap, opened the jar and pulled out the feet one at a time. He devoured his delicacy before the others arrived. Delicacy?
I could not even look at him as he ate these white things with toes and maybe a little hair.
My grandmother weighed in. “Livva him alone. Let him hav-a whatta he wanza.”
And we did. He tried. And he savored.
Off we went to the dining room for La Vigilia, Dad just a few bites behind.