Often, When You Talk To Some Of These “Maledetti Italiani“, Or If You Have Been In Rome And Exchanged A Few Words In Italian, You Have Undoubtedly Heard, Naming The Word “Gnocchi”, The Phrase “Giovedi Gnocchi” (Thursday Gnocchi) And Perhaps You Have Wondered More Than Once What Its Origins Are.
To understand its meaning, it is essential to specify that the complete saying is “Thursday gnocchi, Friday fish and Saturday tripe“, and its origins are at the expense of Rome’s capital.
The expression dates back to the post-war period, in the years when to fill the dishes of the whole family, a certain ingenuity was needed, and the gastronomic week of the Italians was marked by some small and precious rule that helped to optimize the scarce resources and keep the spirit and mood high to the whole family.
For this reason, each day of the week was characterized by a specific dish, and Thursday was the day on which the gnocchi was scheduled.
Preparati with potatoes, flour, and eggs and seasoned with homemade tomato sauce, it was a hearty dish, rich in carbohydrates and calories, which best allowed you to face the lighter menu, based on fish, scheduled for Friday.
For religious reasons, Friday was the day on which it was necessary to abstain from eating meat, out of respect for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, which took place precisely on Good Friday.
On Friday you could eat only fish and legumes, and the typical and very cheap dish was cod with chickpeas. In some Roman trattorias that still respect tradition, it is easy to find this dish as a Friday special, just as it is normal for the waiter to propose gnocchi on Thursday, adding the phrase “Today is Thursday, we have homemade gnocchi with tomato sauce as a special“.
To complete the story, Saturday was tripe day.
It was the day when butchers dedicated themselves to slaughter steers and calves to please those who could afford an excellent Sunday lunch.
Consequently, the less fortunate were left with only, the less valuable cuts such as stomach offal and tripe.
As often happens in recent years, tripe, from a poor dish, has become one of the dishes of the Italian gastronomic tradition to be rediscovered and enhanced.
Anyway, whether it’s Thursday or not, try to make the gnocchi by hand and then season them with a simple tomato sauce or with a nice campidanese sauce, with sausage and anise seeds.
And if you make gnocchi, please, do not forget about this story to make the evening with friends pleasant and exciting.
Tell him that you have read it on this blog.
2 Replies to “Do You Know Why Italians Say “Giovedi Gnocchi”? Here Is The Origin Of The Well-Known Saying”
Growing up in New Jersey, Thursday was always pasta day at my grandmother’s house. Traditions hold fast.
I enjoy your telling of the days and foods with such rich detail. Thank you!