Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian

Most of us born to farmers and field laborers in the pre-boom era had a brusque exit from infancy. Our childhood had no technological assistance and certainly little candy!

At most there was home made ice cream, vanilla and chocolate, made by Erminda in a little shop in Mercatale or, for religious holidays, perhaps an ice pop brought by the iceman, like Viola from Montefiridolfi.

Candy and mints were unpackaged, sold by number or weight in a bag made by the shopkeeper. But this costly “stuff” was out of our reach. Allowances didn’t exist; perhaps a small reward for helping in some job, (of course after having satisfied family obligations).

Fortunately, there was a cultivated field which offered “prey”. Starting with the grape shoots (big trouble if you were caught!). Then there were unripened green almonds, followed by cherries, peaches and plums, apricots, and early grapes which were recognizable from their early July maturation.

In September, there was an explosion of figs, peaches and a lot of grapes. In the vegetable garden grew radishes and cucumbers, eaten with the skin.

We were little goats nibbling everything, so much that sometimes we got a stomach ache. In that era, before calling a doctor, your mom would make a compress of cooked linen seeds and hot ox droppings! If this didn’t work, on to a laxative; milk of magnesia and cod liver oil.

That was always the doctor’s first question; “Did you give him a laxative?”. If we lived through this cure, it was an event. Perhaps all of that voracity was due to the search for vitamins which today are found in drinks and mixtures that young people buy.

I remember when I liked to eat fresh beer yeast that my mother sent me to buy from the grocery store for our bread. (I usually ate half on the way home!). We became adults, participated in the boom and joined in fully to everything the market had to offer.

Our children grew up in a semi-wild state, surrounded by technology; our grandchildren are growing like breed animals: school, sporst, smart phones and absolute hygiene.

They get their fruit from the supermarket and ready cooked chicken. They are stingy with the olive oil. They are losing the joy of taste…oh, I forgot. They eat “Light”…

Roberto Borghi