As the rain trickles down on a tin shed in South Australia, nonna Silvana Caiazza is inside, rolling up her sleeves with a sparkle in her eye.

Sandwiched between her granddaughter Angela and daughter-in-law Rosa, she’s passing down her knowledge of how to make homemade Italian sausages.

The trio is putting seasoned pork through a mincer and into the sausage skins (in between drinks, of course).

Silvana Caiazza and granddaughter Angela share a wine.(ABC News: Briana Fiore)

The aroma of chilli, wine and fennel fills the air.

“I don’t need to go to the gym after this,” Angela tells her nonna as she works up a sweat on the mincer, and they both begin to laugh.

As soon as they’re done, the rich red sausages will be hung out to dry.

After a few weeks, they’ll be cured and enjoyed until next winter.

“Pig day” is an unshakable tradition for many Italian-Australians but the ritual represents so much more than just a full belly.

The feast day is about family, love, joy, history and connection.

For the younger generation, social media is now playing a part in how the special tradition is kept alive.

Families make enough salami to last an entire year.(ABC News: Briana Fiore)

“I personally do Instagram, I love posting my food content on there, it’s my favourite way of sharing how I cook,” Angela said.

“It’s also a way of teaching — you can post your content and people can learn from you as well.”

Angela is part of the younger generation willing to keep up the tradition.

Angela looks forward to pig day each year.(ABC News: Briana Fiore)

She recently finished cooking school at the age of 19 and will soon start as a chef.

“My inspiration was my two nonnas. I’ve been cooking since I was three and they’ve taught me different things from pasta to biscuits to zeppole,” Angela said.

“Nonna always has food on the table and I aspire to be like her when I’m older.”

‘More money, more work and more food’

The sausage-making tradition is believed to have been around for millennia – differing slightly across continents and cultures.

Before the invention of refrigerators, people would use salt to cure and dry out meats.

It allowed the food to be stored for longer without it being spoiled by bacteria.

The Caiazza family made sausages from three pigs this year.(ABC News: Briana Fiore)

In Italy, there are references to sausage-making dating back to the Roman Empire.

The Caiazza family is one of many who brought their recipe with them when they moved to Australia.

During and following World War II, waves of Italian migration occurred.

Many wanted to flee their war-ravaged country in search of a better life.

Italian men in Australia around this period were referred to as “enemy aliens” and were locked up as prisoners of war, because of fears held by the Australian government.

Antonio Caiazza reflects on how the tradition began.(ABC News: Briana Fiore)

Antonio’s uncle was among the prisoners of war. 

When he was released, he ended up settling in Australia and encouraged more of his family to venture over to help fill the rural labour shortage.

Antonio arrived with his father and started his own cement business, but it was years before he could make his own sausages.

“We were renting for four years. We didn’t have a house and we couldn’t do it but then we bought our place and started to make wine and sausage,” he said.

“You got to learn [how to make sausages] from when you’re two years young … it’s the best food you can have.”

Silvana says cooking brings her joy.(ABC News: Briana Fiore)

His wife Silvana came to Adelaide with her mother, sisters and brother in 1954.

“We were on a farm and we never had much so my uncle said, ‘You better come to Australia, there’s more money, more work and more food’,” Silvana said.

“There’s more Italians here now than in Italy,” she joked.

The secret recipe

Silvana said she feels a sense of pride on pig day because of how it brings her family together.

All of her loved ones gather to participate in the process — rising at dawn and not finishing until dusk.

They share an abundance of food throughout the day, including a big pot of pasta.

Angela says her nonnas are her inspiration.(ABC News: Briana Fiore)

She said the secret to making the sausages was including hot chilli, fennel, salt, white pepper and white wine.

“Make sure you mix it well,” she said.

Silvana hopes the younger generations will keep the tradition alive — especially during a cost-of-living crisis.

“I would tell them to continue making sausages because they’re very expensive to buy and you won’t find the same sausages that we make,” she said.

“Don’t give up, never give up.”

Her daughter-in-law expressed delight that families continued the traditions.

Rosa says her children look forward to pig day.(ABC News: Briana Fiore)

“Not that long ago, our family would raise their own pigs themselves [but] these days it’s a bit different. We get it farmed for us,” Rosa said.

“There’s a possibility that these traditions could die out, but our kids love getting involved, it’s a day they look forward to.

“If you want good food and good products it’s got to be made with love.”

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