We're not Italian, nor Catholic, though the custom stems from Italians celebrating the Seven Sacraments of the Church. Somehow, though, we've been doing this ever since the girls were little. They've enjoyed it so much, they've taught their partners to love it, as well.
It IS nice. The table is set with best china: dishes I inherited from my Grandma Pearl. (They must be c.1910-20.) Colored goblets for the wine (usually a nice red) and fruit juice. Specially-chosen candles, napkins and often crackers, those silly British party favors that give you a paper crown, a prize and jokes.
On to the menu -- the best part of the festivities. This year, it was:
New England-style Clam Chowder
Angels on Horseback (oysters wrapped in bacon)
Swordfish Bites - with a zippy Vietnamese marinade
Shrimp Scampi Brochettes
Arctic Char...topped with mustard sauce, then lingonberry preserves. The delicate meat, much like trout, was served on a bed of sauteed bitter greens.**
Pompano... topped with a green olive salsa**
Scallops Rockefeller (similar to Oysters Rockefeller, but with kale, instead of spinach)
Mako shark...topped with a lime and cilantro sauce.**
If you came up with 8 fish dishes, instead of 7, you're right! I am very lucky to have Daughter #1's partner enjoy this so much that he brings several dishes. (You can also enjoy his expertise -- he's the co-owner and head chef at the Interstate Bar and Grill on Santa Fe St. in downtown Denver, famous for its "scratch-made comfort food.") The starred items (**) are his.
We were supposed to have whole lobster for Dish #9, but were just too full. That happened the next day instead, at Christmas dinner.
Then for dessert: Sachertorte, The Mama's Christmas sugar cookies... and hot strong coffee, to help us all bear up. Whew. We'll spend hours talking, with people periodically getting up to clear table, load the dishwasher and sneak leftover bits of their favorites.
Here are some previous years' menus, including 2017 and 2016's version. My Christmas Goodies blog has several more years' choices. (In fact, it will include this post, too.)
You might enjoy doing this next December for the people you love!