San Gennaro Feast – My patron Saint of FAT

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It started out innocently enough. It was just a little piece of my son’s toasted bagel with butter that was left on his plate. It wasn’t even a real piece but rather a toasty edge, half eaten and abandoned, ready for the garbage.  How could I have known that such an innocent little morsel would have set off a domino effect and thrown me completely off course on the I LOVE FOOD DIET??? 

It was Friday and I carelessly thought what harm could a little edge of toasty goodness do? Little did I know that that toasty piece of crusty buttered bagel had awaken in me a hunger that could not be satisfied with carb free snacks. I tried to fight off the carb-cravings and pan-fried three slices of swiss cheese, ala frica mode, hoping to satisfy my urges with crispy fried cheese. It worked, but only temporarily. 

You see, The Feast of San Gennaro was in town and although I have been successful in avoiding that food festival in the past, I figured it was my duty as a food blogger to report on all of the carb-free offerings that San Gennaro, The Patron Saint of Naples, had to offer.  

For those of you who do not know, the San Gennaro feast is New York City biggest and longest running (84 years!) religious outdoor festival in the United States. The Feast is known for offering unbelievable selections and quantities of italian food and treats 

When I told my kids that we were going to “The Feast”, my son immediately inquired, “Do they sell fried Oreo’s?” I quickly assured him that not only will they sell fried Oreos but also the BEST Zeppoles he had ever tried. My sons limited experience with Zeppoles has only been at our local pizzeria’s version. These were the kind of Zeppoles that have been sitting in the case, for god knows how long, waiting for resuscitation from under the plastic wrap. He was going to be in for a treat.  

We all met up at the corner of Mulberry and Grand as the corner of Mulberry and Canal was just too crowded. I immediately eyed the sausage and peppers being grilled on the open air grill by the Fasullo brothers. As I was not that hungry yet, I made a mental note to come back. Instead we walked up Mulberry Street passing hundreds of booths hawking pizza, bracciole, zeppoles and pastas. However, it was the stuffed artichokes that caught my attention. 

I love artichokes however do not eat them very often. What I mean actually, is that I eat artichokes all the time, but only the kind pickled and sold in jars, not the fresh kind with covered in spiky green leaves that you need to scrape the meat off with your bottom teeth. I debated about ordering this difficult to eat “choke”, as it was covered in bread crumbs and bread crumbs have carbs but I threw caution into the wind and ordered it anyway. 

The first leaf was a slightly dry and rather disappointing. But at $8.00 for one artichoke (!) that I had to eat standing up at a very narrow outdoor counter, I neglected my own sage advice (it’s not a waste if it ends up on your waist), and ate it anyway. It was good but not great. Certainly NOT worth the carbs that I had consumed. 

The reason we had even stopped at this particular stand anyway was because my eldest son was clamoring for fried Oreos. My husband, very wisely insisted that we at least eat some semblance of lunch before we could proceed to the fried black and white cookies. After we all ate something from the stand, we proceeded to search out the fried Oreos. We need not search for long as stands selling fried Oreos and zeppoles were everywhere. We picked out the one that offered a mixed selection of 3 fried Oreos and 3 Zeppoles for $5.00. 

My son devoured 3 Oreos and one zeppoles but he stopped after that fearing that he would get a “tummy ache” if he ate any more of the deep-fried treats. There were 2 zeppoles left.

Alas, what was I supposed to do? I debated in my head “should I, or shouldnt I”  as I held the bag of still warm amorphous fried dough covered in powdered sugar in my hand. I reasoned, that I had already cheated that day and this is the I LOVE FOOD DIET anyway and wasnt I supposed to eat what I wanted, when I wanted, and as much as wanted???? So I ate it and savored every crispy, greasy. chewy, sweet satisfying bite. This patron Saint of Naples was going to send my diet to hell! 

More about my pathetic slide to hell tomorrow. 

Chow for now! 

P.S. I sincerely apologize if I offended anyones religious beliefs. My reference to the Patron Saint, San Gennaro, is purely for humorous purposes.  Thanks for your understanding.