For the past 92 years, three generations of Italian Americans have been celebrating the Feast of Saint Anthony on the last weekend of summer.
This year would have been no exception if it wasn’t for Hurricane Irene. Food stands, demo kitchens, decorative lights and a bandstand were assembled and ready to go but Irene won out before she even showed up.
Guest Chef Giada De Laurentis left in a hurry to return to New York, leaving the demo kitchen empty and Saint Anthony’s Association scrambling to find a substitute celebrity chef. 50 guests of Giada’s showed up for a book signing and lunch at Nebo and since Giada didn’t come, the guest asked us to sign her books! “That was easy!” Our first book signing and we didn’t even have to write it!
In the middle of the day, the rain came pouring down and the crowds never appeared. Mayor Menino announced the city was closing and the decorations had to be dismantled immediately. Lights, band stands and chapel all had to be stored away. Bus loads of tourist turned away!
So you think this was a disaster? Actually, there are some things that Hurricane Irene just couldn’t take away from us. Dozens of neighbors and friends gathered at Nebo for the “street foods” that are traditional to the feast, Zeppole, Arancini and Arrosticini. The feast might have been cancelled but the traditions passed down to us just couldn’t be washed away by a hurricane.