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Zdòra, the story of a fundamental figure in traditional cuisine

A fundamental figure for a farmhouse in Ferrara

Cooking is an art that, for centuries, has been handed down within families, with dishes and recipes that, passing from generation to generation, have come to this day.

Becoming, in many cases, a typical element of a given territory, a symbol of the history and cultural traditions of a city, province or region.

In the Romagna cuisine, but not only, we find many examples of dishes that have their roots in ancient times. These are often recipes of peasant origin, deriving from the tradition, in the past much more widespread than what happens today, to reuse the 'waste' ingredients stored in the pantry.

Just think, for example, of the recipe of Pampepato, one of the most characteristic desserts of Ferrara: in addition to flour, essential for the dough, all the other ingredients (hazelnuts, almonds, honey, etc.) came from the family food 'reserves' or, more likely, from the remains resulting from the preparation of other dishes.

Also many soups were prepared with raw materials 'of result' and accompanied with slices and croutons of stale bread, not to mention another dish strongly characteristic of the culinary tradition of Ferrara, or the macaroni pie: a mixture of shortcrust pastry and macaroni with sauce in white.

To govern the kitchen, and therefore to manage the use and reuse of raw materials, there was a figure of vital importance for the society of the past: the zdòra, or azdora depending on the place, or the 'woman housewife', wife of the azdòr, the head of the family, who prepared meals for the whole family.

And considering that, at the time, making 7 or 8 children was normal, it was certainly not an easy thing!

The zdòra, in fact, did not have to worry simply about cooking lunch and dinner, but to manage family finances - often rather limited - for the purchase of food. As a result, his was a leading role, with the responsibility to 'make ends meet' even in the most ingenious ways.

At the same time, the zdòra was the one who kept the traditions of the family strong, especially as regards cooking. Therefore, if we can still enjoy excellent dishes from Romagna, such as the famous puff pastry handmade, we owe it in large part to the industriousness of the zdòre.

What happens today, however? It is undeniable that, in today’s society, the role of women within the family nucleus has radically changed, so that the figure of the zdòra appears more as a mythical element, than as a person really existing. However, some traditions die hard!

In fact, even today, there are many women (and men) from Ferrara who are committed to hand down the recipes that have made the history of the territory of Ferrara and Romagna, avoiding that they end up lost in time.

Therefore, those who want to taste the typical regional and local dishes can go to a rustic restaurant in the historic center, or spend a pleasant day outdoors at a farm in Ferrara and surroundings, taking the opportunity to taste cold cuts and DOP cheeses, preserves and many other specialties.

For a traditional lunch or dinner, book a table at Il Dosso farmhouse!




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