Celebrate St. Joe’s With Zeppoles

zeppole (3.19) Happy St. Joseph’s Day. Joseph was the husband of Mary; it is not clear how he became associated with baked goods. He is the patron saint of “happy death” so that may be it.

Statues of St. Joseph can be put to use in moving real estate. A statue buried upside-down will help you sell even the most difficult property. There is considerable controversy regarding whether he should face the house or face the street. And some say that if you don’t have a yard you can plant him in a flower pot, but that’s just ridiculous. Zillow has tips.

What about the word “zeppole.” Food historian Clifford Wright has this to say about its etymology.

The origin of zeppole, or zippula in Sicilian, comes from the Arabic zalābiyya meaning fried soft dough. Even today, in Egypt, they are called zalābiyya. A traveler to Tunisia of the Middle Ages was cAbdalbasiṭ ibn Ḥalīl, an Egyptian, whose two manuscripts detailing his journeys from 1460 to 1470 in Tunisia are in the Vatican Library.

The Providence Journal has a comprehensive run-down of the state’s zeppole industry. (This picture was taken at Scialo Bros. on Atwells Avenue.)

It would appear that the annual City Hall zepp-fest has been taken off the schedule, presumably a cost-cutting/waist-watching measure for residents. Probably just as well.

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