Art and culture

The "trebbiatura" lunch

April 18, 2011

Each family had its own corn field. In the end of June men organized teams of threshers who opened the long season of hard work, that ended with the threshing.

La trebbiatura
The sheaves, gathered in piles (capale e capalòt) in the fields, awaited the “macchina da bate”, that long and terrible machine that was to do the job. In the villages these machines couldn’t find places that were big enough to keep them, so they were left for days in the main square, and there they stayed, making a continuous noise, except for the short pauses that mendid in the night.

In the hot July air men were continuously beaten by dust and dross, while they threw the sheaves into the machines or took away from it the square straw bales (balòt). Near to the machine there were the big sacks full of corn grains, always kept under control by the owner of the field.

The hard work and the happiness of having a sure meal awaiting for all the next year were the cause of the big lunches, nutritive but not too heavy, because the workers had to keep working.Women started preparing the day before, and made filled tomatoes and sweets; the fields gave lots of vegetables and the chickens were ready. In this disné ‘d bate ‘l gran, a bit more complicated than the original, I propose some of those old recipes.For to start, the caponét and the tongue, both served tepid; then the soup of the bate ‘l gran, necessary to refreshen the throat after having breathen the dust from the corn; then the Marengo chicken. Dishes of which only little traces remain. Then we can continue with the Ginòta rabbit and end with the bonèt and the filled peaches.I think this is a menu that requires very good wines. With the hors d’oeuvre I recommend a lightly sparkling Freisa delle Langhe. Then the classical red wines of the Langhe and with the sweets some Moscato d’Asti.