Herb and Jenny are spending the night, along with their kids Marlon and Leroy, as they pass through New Orleans. We walked up to Venezia for dinner, then over a block to Bracato’s for desert. Leroy fell asleep and had to be carried.
As always, I had to get some scadalina at Bracato’s. It’s a mysterious treat that has intrigued me for years. They sit in a big jar on the counter labeled “dead man bones.” They are crunchy and hard and taste like cloves. I googled the word “scadalina” a long while back and got only one result: Bracato’s menu. Odd.
But tonight I find a couple more results. There’s a recipe via Yahoo Answers. And apparently they were mentioned in the Times-Picayune’s Lagniappe last Halloween:
“Dead man bones,” or “osso dei morte,” refers to a Sicilian confection also called scadalina or skidelina. As interpreted at the 103-year-old Angelo Brocato Ice Cream & Confectionery, it’s a hard clove-flavored white cylinder perched on one side of a firm brown cookie.
A search for the alternate spelling “skidelina” returns more results, but strangely enough almost every reference seems to mention New Orleans and Brocato’s. I wonder if the Italians spell it yet another way, or if this is an old world tradition that survives only in Mid-City New Orleans?
Bart, check out this Chowhound thread:
It’s a traditional cookie found all over Italy. I love them too. It’s always a hard, crunchy cookie, but the flavorings vary according to which part of Italy you’re in.
Ed B, I remember these as a child growing up in Westerly, RI. I had forgotten about them. I seem to associate the holidays with them. My mother’s side of the family is Calabrese and my father was Sicilian. Thanks for jogging my memory. They are addictive.
A guess says the name is from an older sicilian dialect – a lot of the new orleans sicilians have been here since before the first world war, and italy’s language has gotten more standardized in the years since unification.
My grandmother and them make many many kinds both for christmas and st. joseph’s, but I’m not sure if she makes these. Usually I stick to sesame seed and cherry and avoid the anise and that’s it.
The bone part of this cookie is called ‘ossi di morta” or “ossa da morti” you can find many hits for either on google, but none of them mention the chocolate cookie. The best recipe was at
Bought some of these in NYC in the east village