In the early 50’s, the families, grandparents, parents and children ,used to spent the evening afer eating, sitting around the table to tell stories.
While chatting each other, they also held small jobs like peeling the vegetables, the fruit for jams ..
Even children participated in these activities:
Television had not yet entered the homes of Italians.
On Christmas Eve, my mom involved us 3 children to peel boiled chestnuts which Florentine people call “ballotte” .
This work is long but indispensable to prepare the mashed chestnuts : the main ingredient to make the Christmas cake.
I learned from my mother, year after year, all the steps of the recipe: currently it is my job to prepare the cake .... with the help of my grandchildren!.