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Hunger is the word Pasadena most often recurring in the stories of the elders. It was a hunger for bread, and not by chance a proverb admonished that “better dark bread than dark hunger.” This situation Pasadena was to last until the 1960s, until the period in which the Pasadena slow vacating of the villages began, because people flee from the hunger of bread, the disconsolation caused by hunger, and go in search of a piece Pasadena of bread.

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Saints of bread

One could outline a geography and an anthropology of the land in which I was born by making a list of all expressions that have to do with bread and the various types of flour or by compiling an inventory of the various saints whose life and cult is connected to bread.

Southern Italian local saints, and above all saints of Calabrian-Greek background, make miracles dealing with bread. Saint Fantino of Tauriona, who died around 336 c.e., “a humble and poor servant” known also as Il cavallaro, the stable man, at night, during the period of harvesting, would grind the sheaves of grain of the poor using his master’s horses. Of Saint Saba, from the 11th century, who from Sicily moved to the area of Mercurio, on the right side of the Simi river, are worth noting the multiplications of wheat, fish, wine and two different kinds of oil, all in favour of the starving poor.

Saint Nicodemo (10th-11th century), who was born in Sicro, in the valley of the Saline, lived an ascetic life in the wooded mountain known as Cellerana: “Every day from dawn until 9 AM, he would prepare bread on stones he split with his own hands, to feed all the needy, using a flour that he had milled. Instead of bread, at dusk, he would nourish himself with a decoction he obtained by boiling chestnuts, to which he sometimes added the fish that fishermen freely donated.”

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