Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian

Christmas is on its way and the streets and stores are beginning to fill with lights and decorations. Over the next month we will be busy thinking about gifts, luncheons and dinners with the typical frenzy of consumerism which often leads us to forget the meaning of the holiday; to be happy for what we have and to be together with our loved ones.

We decided to look for someone who could regale us with something authentic and genuine and thanks to Susanna, owner of the bar, “I’ Moro” of Cerbaia, we met her aunt Tina.

Tina is 91 years old, strong and combative notwithstanding the adversity she had during her life. Through her memories we traced back to the emotions of good times, those of rhymes and songs which give us images and perfumes of the past, those made of simple happiness.

Carla, Susanna’s mother-in-law, gave us a family recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation: “Pollo alla Trappolina” (“Trappolina chicken”), a recipe from the town of Trappola, next to Pratomagno in Casentino.

This is a Christmas dish which she cooks to the joy of children and grandchildren. “My sisters and I were born in Cerbaia, and we have always lived here”, Tina tells us. “When there weren’t cars in the street we played on the sidewalk and sang, ”cipolla cipolla”. Back then the town finished where the church is and beyond that were only fields”.

How was Christmas back then? “It was considered an important event, because those who could prepared capon or stewed or boiled chicken. Usually we ate pasta and fagioli, ribollita or an anchovy with butter, and bread, wine and sugar as a snack. Therefore, Christmas was the time to eat something more, to put on your best dress and to go to mass during the day because you couldn’t go when it was dark”.

Did you receive gifts? “Yes. Not much, but we were happy. Not like the kids of today who are never content. We were happy to play in the street and to watch women hang out braids of straw to dry for hat making…”.

Tina tells us that she would have been a singer. In her time it was difficult for a young person to go to singing school, but she was good and her favorite memories are made of songs which she used to sing to perfection. S

he says goodbye, hoping the young will enjoy their youth but without exaggerating: “Buon Anno alla svegliata gioventu;… In ogni cuor un’anima smarrita. Buon anno a chi vent’anni non ha più… A che mi crede in sonno una chimera”.


Silvia Luis

Here is the recipe for Chicken “alla Trappolina”

Ingredients: a chicken cut into pieces; flour for dredging; sage, onion and rosemary, chopped: pancetta, cut into little pieces.

Preparation: chop the sage, onion and rosemary; dredge the chicken in flour and brown in olive oil together with the herbs. Add the pancetta and once everything has browned, add white wine. Finish cooking with broth.