Fantaccino Bread

The peasants I have known used to get up when the light was not yet beating on the horizon. Their bodies were at one with the land that nourished them, a land feared and respected, cursed and caressed. Fields and terraces that had drunk time of hard-working men and women, in days of rain and sharp come or high sun that carves the skin. At mid-morning, not later than eleven o'clock, they consumed their midday meal, because fatigue at that hour had already exhausted the energy of waking up. And it was certainly not at the supermarket that they found food: their food was the fruit of that same land with which they were continually mixing. Such was their proximity to what they could eat, olives or wheat, potatoes or tomatoes, that their knowledge of that matter was precise and detailed. Even when they were under a master, and therefore obliged to give an account of what they took, the peasants fed themselves on what they produced. And often having little, it was the ingenuity and gastronomic creativity, in the hands of women, that made the difference.
The olives, for example, were not only used for oil but, transformed in an infinite number of ways, were also a fundamental companion. It is enough to take a nice slice of warm bread and accompany it with a handful of salted olives, 'cconzate or scaddate to understand how much a 'middle food' so simple could be tasty. Most of the olives were preserved in special terracotta jars, in a brine perfumed with wild fennel seeds, garlic, chili pepper and orange peel. The women of my land have always known how to treat olives. They have learned it in the daily melee with that material, so plentiful around them, and with other women, through their slow talk, revealing secrets and experiences, showing the way to best treat that good. This is how fantaccini breads are born, because life is like an infantry battle that one must be equipped to conduct in time, without second chances.
The ripe black olives 'cconzate, that is, 'adjusted' with odors after being sweetened with successive passages in water, are the result of a wise preparation. They are left covered with hot water until they cool down. They are then washed and covered with cold water for another day. At the end, they are seasoned with oil, salt, two cloves of garlic and a sprinkling of mixed oregano and hot pepper.
Or they should be scaddate, that is slightly boiled. Put a kilo of ripe black olives, covered with cold water, in a large pot on the fire, and let them go until the first crackling of boiling and remove them from the hot water. They are washed in cold water, drained well, flavored with a handful of mixed garlic, chili pepper, salt and seasoned with freshly pressedolive oil.

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