March 22, 2012

St. Joseph Table

The Saint Joseph's table is a custom that was originated in Sicily, Italy. Here, is a short version of how this custom started.

Several centuries ago there was a sever drought, the crops could not be planted, a famine spread throughout the area. During the famine, families prayed to God for rain, and they also prayed to St. Joseph to intercede with God on their behalf. The people promised that if God caused it to rain, a special feast would be set up honoring God and St. Joseph. The rains came, and the crops were planted.

After the drought was over and crops began to grow, a wealthy family that grew fava beans decided to set up tables of food to feed the poor, as a thanksgiving for their prayers being answered. Everyone was invited to the St. Joseph table.

The tables contained thirteen different kinds of food, which represent the twelve apostles and Jesus, this meatless meal would contain, fava beans, egg plant, fish baked and fried, bread crumbs (represent St. Joseph, the carpenters saw dust) pasta with meatless sauce, wine, and many deserts. 

Fava beans: picture source: Healthy Times Blog

This is one folklore that is told, you can read what Wikipedia has to say about St. Joseph's Day.

Last night two Catholic churches in our area hosted St. Joseph tables. One church steeped in Italian tradition, had a mass, an altar honoring St. Joseph, and a short play was presented before everyone was invited to dine at the St. Joseph table. 

I was invited to attended the St. Joseph table hosted by an Altar and Rosary Society, while it was not as elaborate as the other celebration, the food table was marvelous.

The priest were invited to be first in line.

We were fortunate to have the
Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph,
attend the festivities.

Wine was served with the meal.

Fritaja with zucchini, fried fish, fried eggplant,
fried cauliflower, rice, gnocchi with meatless sauce,
tuna salad, and a fig.

My plate included similar foods, but I also enjoyed
the olive salad and the fluff that contained
pasta, it was marvelous! I was disappointed that
fava beans were not present at this celebration, I
have never tasted them before, and looked
forward to the experience.

I had figs for the first time,
 and they were very tasty.

A celebration is always fun when shared with close friends, yesterday was my friend Lidia's first outing after her double mastectomy just three weeks ago. 

Renee and Lidia enjoying friendships
and the St. Joseph celebration.

Next year we decided to attend the more elaborate St. Joseph's table, and perhaps they will have fava beans.


  1. ohhh those look yummy :) i LOVE figs! fresh or dried :) thank God for friends and food :)

  2. Hi Paulette, I enjoyed reading about St Joseph's Table and all that food looked yummy. I hope your friend enjoyed herself after her operation, she certainly looks happy and healthy xxx

  3. Hi Paulette, I had never heard of it before either.All the food looks really scrummy!

  4. yummy
    i LOVE fresh figs
    interesting history

  5. How interesting. I've never heard of that before. And what a feast!

    I'm a fan of fresh figs too. Love 'em!