Pan dei Santo
I said no to the pan dei santo today and I regret it. This house is bursting with sweets. . . and my prudent eyes overcautious to the threat of sugar. Massi's mom got up from the dining room table and followed me into the kitchen as I placed the dirty dishes on the table. She opened the bread pantry, barely tall enough to access the back reaches of its spread, and pushed aside the hodge-podge of dated tin cans that have clearly outlasted Berlusconi, and were filled with breakfast cookies. There have always been at least five different paper bags, white and beige in hue, plump from shape of the various Tuscan breads purchased daily at the local panificio. I try to stay away from these as well, giving Massi's mom the side-eye as she unwrapped a new bag designed with mosaic. "Pan dei Santo," she repeated to me, unveiling the chestnut colored flesh of its center freckled with the traditional ingredients of raisins and walnuts. "E un po' dolce," she said, while holding the bread in her hands like Wheel of Fortune hostess Vanna White, explaining that it was to be eaten after the meal, customary to the "Ognissanti" Christian holiday that falls on November 1st, the day we arrived in Italy.
I walked into the bedroom following my son who wanted to watch a movie in bed. Whispers from the bread pantry followed me. "Why didn't you eat me? Aren't I the epitome of what you came to Italy for -- tradition, regional delicacies, non GMO foods?"
Massi walked into the bedroom, "Did you eat any of the Pan dei Santo" I asked? "Of course," he said. "Was it good" I asked? "It was too fresh," he came over and kissed Bruno on the head. "What do you mean?" I asked. It sounded delicious. "It's better when it's a little old," he said. "I'll eat it tomorrow morning then for breakfast," I said. Delighted.
"If my father doesn't finish it all tonight." Massi said and walked away.