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Friday, March 18, 2016

The Tale Of Two Zeppole

st. joseph's day

To make my Irish fiance happy and to prevent the never ending argument of which holiday is better, St Patrick's Day or St. Joseph's Day, I made corned beef and cabbage for dinner and woofed down a dozen freshly made zeppole for dessert. 

Rhode Island is chuck full with Italian's so the traditional fried pastry pops up in every bakery along Federal Hill, aka Rhody's Little Italy. I grew up with zeppole and look forward to them each year, but not the cream filled, cherry-topped one, I'm talking about the light, fried goodness of a pastry drenched in honey. THAT is a real zeppole to me. I've done some research to set the story straight because I don't see enough of zeppole around town, the way that I've always ate it. 

Food for thought: if you google zeppole, the kind I'm bragging about is one of the first pictures to pop up. #truth 

Zeppole, according to my research, came about in southern Italy and there are variations from region to region. In Itri where my family is from, it was a peasant-filled town so dairy and sugar were not common and considered a luxury. The beauty of this kind of zeppole is its simplicity. With just flour, yeast, water and honey, my ancestors were able to come up with a delicious treat in honor of St. Joseph's Day. 

zeppole

The labor-intensive treat takes hours to make because you can't just make a dozen that's nonsense. To this day, my 94-year-old grandmother makes sure we make zeppole  and use specific ingredients because according to her, it isn't the same without King Arthur's flour and Mazola corn oil. She's like the conductor of the operation now-a-days.  

I'm not fond of the custard/cream filled zeppole, it's not really my thing. I'm very particular about sticking true to the Italian traditions of my family and yes, it may be snobby of me but I'm just a girl who knows what kind of dessert she likes. I know, I'm terrible. 

st. joseph's day
^^^I don't think they are as good as they look

Us Italians take our traditions very seriously and whatever my Grandma Soprano tells me, I do without question. So much so, I wanted to share her recipe with all of Rhode Island and anyone tuning in by going on a talk radio show to discuss all things zeppole and St. Joseph's Day. The morning radio host at the station I work at wanted me as a co-anchor (more like commentator) and started calling me on air, Anita Baffoni the Zeppole Queen. Well if the crown fits. 

I'm going to stop writing this post now because I can't stop eating these damn zeppole and there is too much honey all over my laptop for me to continue. That's what I call a good Friday night. The quicker I eat them, the sooner they won't be in my damn apartment anymore because I'm supposed to be getting fit for my wedding...

So much for that.

zeppole

Buona festa di San Giuseppe, and happy weekend. 
Thursday, March 10, 2016

My Million Dollar Wedding

Wedding

Anytime the word "wedding" is attached to any price quote, it will double, especially in Providence. The smallest state was just ranked by Thumbtack, the fifth most expensive city to throw a wedding and I'm really feeling the effects. We opted to a two year engagement and we are nearing the year and a half mark and the pressure is slowly building. Surprisingly I'm keeping calm.

I've made a promise to myself that we would book the major wedding services before the one year mark and now that I'm calling countless amounts of vendors, I am getting very discouraged because there is no way I'm spending $5,000 on flowers. Just flowers. Are you high? Do I look like a millionaire? 

The study shows that for Providence, brides will spend an average of nearly $14,000 on just wedding services, such as the caterer, music, limo and cake. It doesn't include the rings, dress or venue. I can remember getting engaged and someone asked me what my budget was going to be and my naive self said, $10,000. HA. I was sadly mistaken. Another study found that an entire cost of a Rhode Island wedding is $45,000. Mind you, the national average is just under $30,000, to put it into perspective how expensive Rhode Island weddings are. 

I am fortunate enough to have my parents chipping in to the majority of the cost but regardless, I want to and I want my parents to spend the least amount possible. So when I call three florists and get a quote for $5,000 each time, I just can't deal. This is also thousands more than what the study averaged flowers to be in Providence, quoting roughly $1,400. 

Here are the breakdown's, according to Thumbtack, which are oddly low then what I'm being quoted. 

Providence Wedding


Where in the world did they get $3,300 for catering?! That must be a 10 person guest list because I'm looking at triple that...well I am having a 200 person wedding. 

Fellow Rhode Islanders know how to get things done for cheap in this state. Since the state is so damn small, everyone knows someone in some business that you can use to your advantage. For me, I am channeling all of those favors and gestures from people who offered to help out with my wedding. My advice for future brides: cash in all of those favors and don't be afraid to ask family and friends for help. 

Working with family can be tricky, but just make sure you are sensitive to their feelings, however, don't feel like you can't say your true opinion because this is supposed to be the day of your dreams. Don't let anything take that away from you. It's YOUR day. 

I'm channeling my inner Martha Stewart and thinking of ways to turn expensive wedding services into DIY projects, like centerpieces. It may be more work but not only will it be fun to get the girls together, you will also be able to save that money for a kick ass honeymoon. Speaking of, another study I found said an average honeymoon is $5,000. I have no clue how I'm going to pull this off but my grandmother keeps telling me, don't stress too much about the money because you will find a way to make it happen. Australia, here the Anderson's come! 

Every wedding decision feels like an expensive one. Unfortunately for me, it's even more expensive in Providence. And I'm not even getting married in Providence but all of my vendors are around these parts so it looks like I'm working three jobs until Oct. 8, 2017. 

So the point of this post? I'm using it as an opportunity to bitch about how I need to come up with $1 million to pay for my wedding. I'll be setting up a GoFundMe account later this week. 


***this post gave me a reason to share some more of my engagement photos. Aren't they amazeballs? I'm thinking the three shown may be contenders for save-the-dates, which also cost way too much. But it's totally worth it, right? I'm accepting inexpensive wedding tips! The more, the merrier. 

As a side note, I literally got poison ivy basically on my butt from rolling around in the woods for our engagement photos. That's what I get for dragging Jake into doing them. 

Fall engagement photos

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