Continued Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all who are Irish, want to be Irish and claim to be Irish at this time of year. With things semi back to normal, people were able to show their green with parades and celebrations. If I’m not mistaken, Chicago’s parade is the largest in the country.

So, after the last helping of corned beef, cabbage and boiled potatoes has been washed down by a pint of Guinness, we go right on to the next celebration – St. Joseph’s Day.

Celebrated on March 19, St. Joseph’s Day arrived in America with Sicilian immigrants and have at their center very elaborate St. Joseph tables, which are usually arranged in three tiers, representing the Trinity.

A statue or picture of St. Joseph is prominently placed on the highest tier. The tables are adorned with flowers, fruits and breads. Most of the loaves of bread are baked into elaborate shapes, the cross being used most. Small loaves are sometimes available for guests to take home. The tables are meatless, but sometimes they will include fish.

Sweets are in abundance on the tables, and in Sicily they hold a prominent place and cover most of the tables. Prominent on the sweet table is the traditional St. Joseph cake, called a zeppole.

It is similar to a French doughnut, cut in half and filled with either custard or cannoli filling. To find a full selection of St. Joseph’s Day treats, go to Vesuvio Bakery in North Riverside.

It surprises me the things I learn when writing this column, so I was surprised to learn that St. Joseph’s Day is celebrated annually in New Orleans. I have a feeling it is a little tamer that the usual Mardi Gras in the French Quarter.

They do have parades and dozens of altars which are assembled to honor St. Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus.

Since this is the Lenten season and many Catholics give up sweets, you may want to bypass the sweet tables – or get what we call a dispensation.

I checked out the menu here at Cantata to see if they have St. Patrick’s Day or St. Joseph’s Day planned, but I don’t see anything unless mac and cheese counts. OK, chef, you may want to revise things a bit!

Have a good week. It’s good here at Cantata, where I’m working on getting stronger. The legs still need work, but they don’t need to be in marathon-running shape, just your basic everyday stuff.