While we’re on the subject of holiday meals, today is St. Stephen’s Day, the day that Catalans celebrate by eating canelones (cannelloni). When I was living there for a few months, I delved into the origins of this custom a bit.
Stage One. Amazement at the ubiquity of canelones year round in Catalonia, and sceptical of the standard story that they were brought by Italian Swiss immigrants in the late eighteenth century.
Stage Two. Meeting Jeff Koehler, a fine writer, traveler, photographer and cook, who knows a lot about Catalan food and kicking around the broader implications of canelones in Catalonia.
Stage Three. Constructing a more plausible story about the early twentieth century appearance of canelones in Catalonia, part of an increase in wheat pasta that occurred in many parts of the world.