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Italian Bread Ovens

woman standing next to a well
Oven constructed by Joseph Genocchio near San Andreas in 1899, his granddaughter, Eve, stands next to it in the 1950s. It was demolished in the 1990s  (Courtesy Julia Costello)

Italian immigrants to the Mothe Lode came largely from rural areas near Genoa.  Among other traditions that of baking bread in outdoor ovens persevered over generations until commercial bread became widely available in the 1930s.  Interviews conducted in the with Calaveras County residents during the 1990s recorded memories of bread baking that were fresh and vivid. Interviewed were Louise Cuneo Greenlaw, Carmen Cilenti Poore, Flossie Sabatine, and Fred Cuneo.  The attached article was published by the Socety for Historical Archaeology in 1998.

SHA 1998 It Ovens.pdf


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Descendants of Italian immigrants share memories of breadbaking in their families' traditional outdoor ovens. left to right: Louise Cuneo Greenlaw, Carmen Cilenti Poore, Flossie Sabatini, and Fred Cuneo. (Courtesy Julia Costello)