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Cuccìa is a traditional Sicilian dish containing boiled wheat berries, which is eaten on Saint Lucy's feast day (December 13). The dish is consumed in Sicily and among Italian-Americans to commemorate the relief from a food shortage in Sicily; the appearance of wheat on the island is attributed to Saint Lucy. According to custom, bread should not be eaten on December 13; the notion is that cuccìa should be the only source of wheat, and the primary source of nourishment for the day.

Cuccìa is prepared differently from family to family and in different regions. Some make cuccìa as soup, others as a pudding; and, in Kansas City, Missourimarker among Sicilian-Americans, cuccìa is prepared as a hot-cereal, but most traditional preparations add sugar, butter and milk. Ceci beans (chickpeas), known to Americans as garbanzo beans are also associated with the eating of cuccìa, as are almonds and ricotta. Ricotta might have been an ingredient in Kansas City before butter became more common. The term cuccìa in Italy is distinctly Sicilian; but, it owes its origins, almost certainly, to the Ukranian, kutia (pronounced kootch-yah) where it is, traditionally, served in in the Christmas season.


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