I received not one but two messages from USCIS today. You’d think this would be leading to good news. Productive news. Alas, this is not the case.
I first received an email asking if I’d yet received the certified copies of the Certificate of Naturalization for Liborio Marcello. Answer is no, but at least they are working on it and diligent in making sure I do in fact get this certified copy.
About an hour after that, the mail arrived at the office with, lo and behold, a letter from USCIS telling me they’ve come up empty on my request for Anna Liggio Marcello.
While yes it’s true I’ve gotten close to squat in actual documents today, I do know that (1) the Certificate of Naturalization for Liborio is most likely almost in my hands and (2) since there is no record on Anna, I just need to write the lovely people in DC and get my official letter stating there is in fact no record.
Getting closer… kind of.
My first experiment with zeppole was a success! Depending on the region they may be called zeppole or sfinge, but either way you say it, it turns out delicious. They are alot like beignets but creamier due to the ricotta mixed in. Look how tasty:
Here’s the recipe:
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 pinch cinnamon or nutmeg
2 tsp white sugar
2 eggs beaten
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 tsp vanilla
2 qts vegetable oil for frying
confectioners sugar for dusting
Heat oil in a deep-fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a medium heatproof bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Stir in the eggs, ricotta cheese and vanilla. Mix gently over low heat until combined. Batter will be sticky. Drop by tablespoons into the hot oil a few at a time. Zeppole will turn over by themselves. Fry until golden brown, about 3 or 4 minutes. Drop on paper towel to soak up the excess oil and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Best when warm of course.
I’ve read alot of variations on the recipe and some people even add in raisins or dried fruit, or dust with cinnamon and sugar instead of powdered sugar. I kept it fairly simple but added the cinnamon to the batter for a little pizazz.
Two days ago I wore green. I sang along to Flogging Molly. I reveled in the spirit of St. Patrick and a country to which I have no heritage. I love to celebrate. Anything really.
But today, today is the feast of St. Joseph. And today, I will grasp on to the tradition of my heritage and celebrate. I have even worn my red Italia t-shirt to work today. Must keep the spirit alive!
HISTORY LESSON!!! St. Joseph is regarded as the patron saint of Italy, and more specifically the land of my ancestors, Sicily. Legend has it that during the middle ages, Sicily underwent a severe drought and the people of Sicily prayed to St. Joseph to bring rain and prevent a famine. Well, as you can guess, it rained and the grateful people of Sicily offered up a massive feast in thanksgiving and honor of St. Joseph. The fava bean is what saved them from starvation and thus is usually prominent in dishes on St. Joseph’s Day tables. Hence, fava beans are generally deemed lucky.
Some traditions have people wearing red on this day (thus my shirt above) and eat a Sicilian pastry called zeppole. Later this evening, I will attempt to make my own zeppole. After which, I will report the outcome.
This day also brings back memories of New Orleans. New Orleans, like me, is huge on celebrations. And New Orleans, unlike my current city, celebrates in big fashion both St. Patrick’s Day and St. Joseph’s Day in a combined spectacular Irish-Italian Parade. So if you’re in New Orleans this weekend, you should check it out!
Sunday, March 22 – Louisiana Irish-Italian Parade (Metairie) – 12 Noon
I must say that despite the celebration of heritage here, the feast of St. Joseph is quite relevant to the current conditions in the world. We may not be dealing with drought and a looming famine, but the world is dealing with serious economic and for that matter ethical droughts. It seems that maybe a prayer to St. Joseph could be prudent at this juncture.
Naturalization Papers are still in the process of being certified. It’s been nearly six weeks and all they need to do is put a couple little stamps on a few sheets of paper. You wouldn’t think this would be such an intensive task that needs six weeks to complete. But that is life I guess.
My new friends in the FOIA office are Danny and John. Both very helpful and very friendly. Danny has just called me back to let me know why the certification is taking so long. Apparently they were holding off on certification until they found the records for Anna as well. But now that they know that I’d prefer they just certify Liborio’s and send those along while finishing up with Anna, they’re going to get right to it!
Still no marriage license, but I’m going to go with my plan to have everything but the marriage license and see if I can squirm my way through the system. If there’s any truth in astrology, I might be in luck! The Gemini is supposedly very sneaky in getting what she wants through scheming and flattery… I think it’s the twins working together maybe.