The pizza da beridde in Roman-Jewish cuisine
What is known as “pizza ebraica” actually should be called by its real name, a more exotic and complex moniker. The name is pizza da beridde where ‘beridde’ stands to signify “pact”, and the pact it refers to is the one sealed through circumcision, the berith milà.
‘Berith’ in Hebrew means pact, the Roman-Jewish shift of this word became “beridde”. The giudaico-Roman tradition – of which this sweet cake is a symbol – lends great importance to the birth of a baby boy. For each family this is a great joy and reason for a sumptuous feast.
A characteristic of this celebration is gifting guests invited with a small bag of sweets, in thanks for honoring the hosts of their participation. The little bag usually contains – aside from the pizza da beridde – a small donut called “ciambelletta”, some almond biscuits called “biscottini” and a handful of sugarcoated almonds.
The little bag is called kavodde, which in Hebrew means, “honor”, a noun of the verb used in the ‘Honor thy father and mother’ comandment. The verb also signifies ‘give weight’ as in, importance. When the guests who have honored the host of their presence leave the party, the parents of the celebrated boy hand out the filled kavodde as a sign of gratitude for the honor of receiving the guests.
Small linguistic note of explicit nature: in Roman-Jewish dialect, ‘beridde’ figuratively indicates the male reproductive organ.
Photo: copyright Andrea Di Lorenzo per Casa Mia Italy Food & Wine