Chiacchere are one of the classic Carnival pastries that people enjoy before the privations of Lent. As is often the case when dishes are popular, there are many versions of Chiacchere; this is from the Marche.
5 4/5 cups all purpose flour
4 ounces live baker's yeast (the cakes of yeast you will find in the dairy section of the supermarket)
1/2 cup butter
The grated zest (yellow part only) of three organically grown lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup warm milk
Oil for frying
"Let the good Times Roll!"
This is the last big weekend of Mardi Gras...are you having a party? Mardi Gras is a major celebration in Europe, particularly in Italy and Germany, and of course, here in the United States down south in New Orleans. The history of Mardi Gras is difficult to pin down, depending who's written history you are reading. Here is what I have come up with. In the 2nd century, Ancient Romans would observe what they called the Lupercalia , a circus -like festival, very similar to present day Mardi Gras. The festivities were to honor the Roman deity, Lupercus. When Christianity arrived in Rome, the dignitaries of the early Church decided to continue a festival rather than anger the people by abolishing the tradition. The Carnival became a time of abandon and merriment which preceded the Lenten period, a 40 day period starting on Ash Wednesday and ending at Easter. They would eat, drink, party until they dropped! Masks and costumes were worn, the majority honoring Bacchus and Venus.
Masks, maschere, are an important part of the carnevale festival and Venice is the best city for traditional carnival masks. Carnival masks are sold year round and can be found in many shops in Venice, ranging from cheap masks to elaborate and expensive masks. Walking through the streets of Venice, it's a pleasure to view the variety of masks on display in shop windows. People also wear elaborate costumes for the festival and there are costume or masquerade balls, both private and public.
A Sussex Spaniel wins the 133rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
If you missed the show on television, you can pull up clips and find the results at http://www.westminsterkennelclub.org/2009/results. You will fall in love!