I just received a beautiful letter from my friend Raffaella Antoniazzi in Florence. It was written in Italian and I have translated it. Oh how I wish I could send it in Italian, as it is written so sweetly.’La tacchina, deve essere una femmina perche la carne e piu morbida…..'”il ripieno e di salsiccie di maiale, prugne secche senza nocciolo, e castagne che vengono cottesulle brace, pelate e ripassate in una padellina con il burro e l’alloro..’Italians don’t celebrate Thanksgiving of course, but they do eat turkey for Christmas. I would like to  pass this along to you to use if you are looking for something unusually good for your Thanksgiving table this year, or save it for Christmas…that is if you can wait.Raffaella collects Primitive American quilts and has some of the most beautiful ones I have ever seen.

She has a passion for true American design from her days at Biedermeyer in New York. Looks like she has taken a bit after her grandmother Antoniazzi.
Hello Dear,

I’m sending you the turkey recipe from ‘La Nony’ Antoniazzi, the mother of my father and aunt Bebi.

She was born in San Pellegrino, near Bergamo in Lombardia and was the daughter of Tommaso Manfredi, the doctor of the village. A handsome man who attended to the sick by horseback from village to village.

La Nony (Erminia, said Mimmina), is also my middle name. she was the second of three children between Tommasina and Pino. She was a fantastic cook, but not only. She painted, wrote (the story of her life!) and had other brilliant ideas that were too forward for her time. She was an Aquarius. I adored her.

Here is the recipe. She must be a female turkey because the meat will be more tender e ‘non troppo grande’ for 8-10 people.

(Italian recipes are often written out in sentence or paragraph form as is this one.)

Clean the cavity of the turkey well, then sprinkle good ‘sale marino’ (sea salt) inside and out, but don’t exaggerate.

The stuffing is pork sausage, pitted dried prunes, and chestnuts that have been cooked on an open fire, peeled and mashed in a pan with butter and bay leaf.

You stuff the turkey with this delicious mixture and set it in a pan with high sides. The base of the pan should have generous olive oil and butter, (don’t exaggerate) as the pork has fat as well. We want it

to be tasty but not too heavy. Put in a few bay leaves and whole black peppercorns also.

The oven should be hot at the beginning to brown the meat for the first 20 minutes. (400F?) It’s important to use a baster to marinate the meat from above. Then turn the oven down to let it cook more slowly until done. (350F?) During the cooking, bathe with a heated broth that you have prepared before.

Take out of the oven, let rest, then carve! Bon appetito~