Whether they eat in the fields or in a one-room apartment, dinner, for seasonal workers, is a moment of rest. For a few hours, everything seems nearly normal. The workers gather around a table to cook their favorite dishes from memory, improvising with whatever ingredients they can find. These meals strengthen their bonds; many of them become friends. In Cassibile, the Malians cook rice, chicken yassa, tomato and cucumber salad, and, when they can find plantains, tcheké. A thousand kilometers north, in Verzuolo, Palì, who traveled to Italy from Mali, shares a two-room apartment with Arun, who is originally from Mauritania.
“We take turns doing the food shopping and then we prepare dishes from our countries. I still remember some recipes from my family. If I find the rights ingredients at the market, I try to cook them.”
For years, Chinese nationals have been working on Michele Ponso’s farm in Saluzzo. They live in a restored structure near the fruit fields, divided into three apartments. For the Chinese New Year, the country’s most important holiday, the workers revel in their traditions, drinks, and dishes. They prepare the traditional fare – dumplings, chicken, meat, fish, noodles, and mandarins – and enjoy their time off from work together.