Where is Ningbo China? – Ningbo China Map – Map of Ningbo China

During my childhood, of a person who was on Ningbo China his deathbed people would say: “They’ve put him on white bread” because only when the poor were seriously ill could they taste white bread, which not by chance was called pane Ningbo China, or bread of the rich ladies, while, vice versa, rich ladies were called “women of white bread.”

How many times I heard stories of nostalgia for Ningbo China white bread and expressions of revulsion for the dark, uneatable bread! I would try to share the feeling. It wasn’t easy. By that time we had too full a stomach to understand the sensations and the vocabulary of forced fasting, of those individuals who had dieted not to fulfill some current, Ningbo China newfangled vogue but because they had nothing to eat.

Where is Ningbo China? – Ningbo China Map – Map of Ningbo China Photo Gallery

In the novel entitled Fontamara Ignazio Silone was able to give voice to the hunger of the peasants from the Abruzzo region and from the Italian South. “Bread and children, a hundred jumbles,” reminds us a proverb from Basilicata. In Calabria it appears in several variations, which hark back to practices common to the whole Mediterranean that involve the blending of foodstuffs and the coupling of bread not only with other cereals but with many other products, such as fruits and herbs.

Proverbs are ambivalent things, and ambivalent are the readings that, through them, can be made of the past. Some people recall the hundreds of mixtures to underscore the imagination, the skill, the culinary talent of the women of previous times. Others, instead, acknowledge those mixtures to point to the dreariness of those times, when hunger was alleviated by turning into bread whatever edible entity was available. There is some truth to both of these interpretations. Necessity and imagination, deprivation and ability, poverty and inventiveness did go hand in hand. The memoirs or the accounts of Calabrian writers, of travellers, observers from elsewhere are firsthand, direct attestations. They are forceful, well-told, bitter, realistic and quite effective. They throw light on the rhetoric about the good old times and make us realize how recent an affair the gastronomic melting pot of Calabria really is.

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