It’s fair season! My favorite time of year. However, in the area of Rhode Island that I moved to, Italian church feasts are more common and a couple of weekends ago John and I went a little feast-crazy. Well…..at least when it came to the food.
John and his family normally frequent the Our Lady of Grace feast ; which is sponsored by, you guessed it, Our Lady of Grace Church. I came to this feast last year when John and I were still a very new couple so I was already familiar with the layout this time around. (If any of you out there are Jersey Shore fans, apparently this feast is a Paulie D favorite…although I didn’t see him this year. I was very disappointed).
John rants and raves about the food at this feast. Last year we just frequented the $2 beer and wine garden so I didn’t get to experience the eats. This year was much different. Being a seafood fan, I had stuffies (stuffed quahogs) and calamari with hot peppers. I wasn’t aware of this until recently, but Calamari is the Rhode Island state dish; and they do it well. It wasn’t greasy or chewy like you sometimes get. The only downside is they don’t use the tentacles, just the squid rings. Most people don’t do the tentacles, but they’re my favorite part.
Because these feasts are meant to celebrate the Italian heritage, I took the opportunity to try an old-school Italian dish: sufrite or cow heart stew. I wasn’t brave enough to get my own, so I stole a few bites from John’s. When you hear heart, you think it’s going to be this slimy congealed mess that has a taste similar to when you bite your tongue too hard. So you can imagine my surprise when it tasted just like Grandma’s beef stew with a slightly tinny after-taste. They dice the heart into cubes so it looks like you’re eating cubes of cooked beef and cook it in a thicker tomato-based sauce. The texture is a bit gamier than your typical cut of beef, and every now and then you’ll find a piece with valves still intact; of course I looked for those pieces on purpose.
I wouldn’t order it on the regular, but I wouldn’t say no if it was the only option. It’s comfort food with a bit of a morbid side, really.
(They also had tripe – which is the stomach – but I passed on that one.)