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When the Lord had created the animals, he looked at them and said: «You are truly beautiful: horns, tails, moustaches, fur, hooves, tusks... But what on earth did I have in mind to make this menagerie? It's done now... I'll ask everyone what talent they want to have, so at least they won't have to complain about that. Let's start with this snail: what do you want?

"I want a comfortable home that I can always carry with me." “Take the house,” said the Lord and gave birth to the shell above the hump.

«Now let's move on to the horse: what do you ask?».

«Speed, Lord, because I like to run».

"You will be satisfied," said God, and gave him the speed.

«Now let's hear what the lion wants...».

"The force".

«And come on, go through the world by force. Now it's the fox's turn."

"Since there is no longer any strength or speed, I would like cheekiness, because it seems like a good quality to me."

But while the Lord was looking for shamelessness in the basket of virtues, he passed the fly and took it and there was no way to make him give it back.

«It's good that a small animal has shamelessness, ask me, fox, for another gift».

«Give me intelligence then...»

“Sorry, the man already had that.”

"The wisdom...".

But as they turned the owl was already flying away carrying her in its beak.

“That too is gone,” said the Lord.

"Give me cunning then, but I want a lot of it."

Then the Lord gave the fox a double portion of cunning.

The story proceeds with dinner at the Osteria del Gambero Rosso. it's fantastic that the place where Pinocchio plots the deed with the Cat and the Fox is called that. In fact, the crayfish, as everyone knows, walks backwards: it seems that it is going forward but instead it goes back. And at the Osteria del Gambero Rosso things go exactly the other way around, the opposite of what is said happens.

January: in the field

«Dust January fills the granary»

This month's work is reduced due to the weather and nature's restful vegetative state. We can take advantage of this to tidy up the warehouses, clean and arrange the equipment, organize future sowing and planting.

Orchard. Begin pruning apple, pear and kiwi trees, always with a waning moon; it is possible to plant new stone fruit. The citrus fruits are harvested and, if necessary, fungal attacks are treated with copper oxychloride. 

Vineyard and cellar. Pruning begins outdoors, while in the cellar it is necessary to check the level of the tanks and clean the wine vessels.

Vegetable garden. Clean the soil and prepare the boxes for sowing in the seedbed: you can start with basil, chard, summer cabbage, lettuce, onion, leek, escarole, celery and courgette. Cabbages of many varieties are still harvested.

Garden. Bulbs and rhizomes are earthed up; rose cuttings are prepared. To combat cryptogamic diseases, spray the plants with Bordeaux mixture (copper sulphate plus calcium hydroxide). In case of drought, water only during the hottest hours of the day. 

Traditional uses and foods

Chicken coop - The hens start laying eggs again, but the gallated (i.e. fertilized) ones must be saved to be placed under the brooders.

Winter drink - When it snowed, the kids liked to drink an original drink, as it was not suitable for the winter climate. The mothers prepared a glass of snow with a little wine and sugar with the snack. By dissolving it with a teaspoon it became a delicious syrup for those times. 

Walnuts, dried figs, oranges, mandarins in Befana stockings.

Boiled chicken for Epiphany lunch (it's the one that didn't go back to laying eggs when the pullets started laying them again in January).

Befanini: heart-shaped biscuits (befanotti) or star-shaped biscuits (befane).

Dried grapes, raisins (zibibbo) and dried fruit that were eaten during wakes.

Thimbles of sweet flour. Potatoes cooked under the ashes. Beans in the flask.

(Carlo Lapucci)

Black cabbage is a shield against the flu in winter

Recent research confirms that black cabbage is useful in the prevention of numerous forms of cancer (colon, rectal, stomach, prostate and bladder cancer), and is effective in assisting the treatment of gastric ulcers, ulcerative colitis and also forms of influenza. To do this, the simplest solution is to add a couple of kale leaves to soups. The ideal would be to steam it for 10 minutes, then blend it and add it to the soup, to the soups at the end of cooking; thus it does not disperse the healing virtues.

A tip: during the winter you can also use it as a "pesto" with black cabbage. 

Prepare the leaves of the black cabbage, removing the central rib and add all the ingredients: 400 g of black cabbage, 50 g of walnuts, 20 g of pine nuts, a clove of garlic; 5 teaspoons of olive oil, a pinch of salt. Put everything in the blender until you obtain a soft and dense mixture. 

If it is too thick, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of water. Ideal for seasoning a dish of pasta or rice cooked with water.

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