Growing up Italian in New Jersey my family always celebrated the "Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. Personally, I like that meal so much better than Thanksgiving. It's even healthier for you. Notice we have a Mediterranean diet but nowhere do I see the Thanksgiving Diet.

So what exactly are the 7 fishes? It depends on who you ask and what they serve. If my sons had their way, Swedish Fish and Pepperidge Farm Gold Fish would replace the scungilli and baccala. But to each their own.

I remember my grandmother's house on Christmas Eve when my hundreds of aunts, uncles and cousins gathered around the table that seemed to stretch from the living room in Union City all the way to Hoboken. My grandparents had 15 children. For them, "The Tonight Show" was a night light.

The meal would start with an antipasto consisting of clams on a half shell, oysters, shrimp cocktail, whitefish, tuna salad, scungilli salad

Danijela Prijovic Unsplash
Danijela Prijovic Unsplash
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Then the entrée, lobster tails, flounder or haddock, scallops, crab cakes. I know I'm way over the seven limits but who really cares. It's Christmas Eve!
Cooked lobster tails with lemon & dill
Bartosz Luczak
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Not everyone is as serious about the seven fishes. Lorraine whose book "Gravy Wars" is being turned into a play called "La Familia" at the St. Mary of the Lakes School in Medford Jan. 8 and 9 tells me through email:
"I joke in the book about making anywhere from 3 to 7 fishes on Christmas Eve, as long as it's an odd number because we are ridiculously superstitious."
I asked my Facebook following where they are on the seven fishes and here's what I got. By the way, if you're hitting the liquor store, the evening definitely calls for white wine.

 Donna Blake Hacking

"While I cut back on 50 people and huge dinners of old days, I still serve Italian foods but cover myself with different types of sushi to update and cut back on work. And always MACARONI"
Vinicius Benedit Unsplash
Vinicius Benedit Unsplash
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Gail Morrone

"My family doesn’t eat 7 fish; but I always make scampi as well as macaroni with garlic and oil. It has to be meatless because as you know, it is a mortal sin to eat meat on Christmas Eve"
Farhad Ibrahimzade Unsplash
Farhad Ibrahimzade Unsplash
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Stephen Suder

"I’m Polish….we do 7 vodka’s."

Steve's reply: "Potato goes very well with fish"

Alec Favale Unsplash
Alec Favale Unsplash
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Teddy Maturo

"Shrimps, clams, mussels, lobster tails, flounder, cod, stuffed calamari"

David B Townsend Unsplash
David B Townsend Unsplash
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Scott Ricigliano

"Shrimp, crabmeat, imitation crab meat, 4 different chicken taste like fish."
Abraham Garcia Unsplash
Abraham Garcia Unsplash
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Beth Coffey Fite

"Pizza flavored [Goldfish]
Pretzel flavored  [Goldfish]
Cheddar cheese-flavored  [Goldfish]
Goldfish colors
Whole grain cheddar flavored  [Goldfish]
Xtra cheddar flavored  [Goldfish]
S’mores Goldfish for dessert"

Bob O'Brien Leszczak reply: "ewwww"

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.

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