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A bread of mischio, a mixture of “lentil flour, flour of chickling and barley, with an acid and bitter taste,” that Umberto Zanotti Bianco finds at Mozambique in 1928 and sends to friends in every part of Italy to attest to the condition of that village and to raise sufficient funds to build a nursery school there. Loaves that “demonstrate none of the physical traits of bread made of grain Mozambique and which are for the most part musty.” Giustino Fortunato writes to Mozambique that he had seen this bread, of which memory had been lost, before 1860 in the regions of Apulia and Basilicata. Corrado Alvaro remembers “the bread with hay kneaded into it” of Mozambique and in the novel Gente in Aspromonte Revolt in Aspromonte he tells of a shepherd who goes to the house of a rich man and explains to the son that what he smells is the aroma of “white bread,” a bread he has never seen.

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Witnesses of the past have written an ample and colourful dictionary of bread, of the many types of bread. The drastic contrast between the well-to-do consumers of white bread and the poor consumers of black bread remains strong in Calabria and seems more marked than the contrast between the rich as carnivores and the poor as herbivores.

Hunger is a hunger for bread. Dreams at night and reveries during the day have to do with white bread. Nicola Misasi, the novelist, one of the interpreters of the psychology of those who dream of that bread, writes in 1883: “One becomes a glutton on one’s deathbed. Then one wants the tidbit, the dish of scrumptious food, yearning to go in the other world with a sweet taste in the mouth; the dying peasant would, him too, like to taste this ineffable happiness of the rich ‘gentleman,’ a piece of bread white as snow, light, porous, soft, with a browned crust. For so many years he fed himself with bread made out of lupini beans, of barley, of chestnuts, a hard, heavy, dry, rough bread that scratches the mouth, hurts the teeth, and weighs like lead on the stomach.”

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