Italian Cuisine: A Cultural History
Italy, the country with a hundred cities and a thousand bell towers, is also the country with a hundred cuisines and a thousand recipes. Its great variety of culinary practices reflects a history long dominated by regionalism and political division, and has led to the common conception of Italian food as a mosaic of regional customs rather than a single tradition. Nonetheless, this magnificent new book demonstrates the development of a distinctive, unified culinary tradition throughout the Italian peninsula.
Alberto Capatti and Massimo Montanari uncover a network of culinary customs, food lore, and cooking practices, dating back as far as the Middle Ages, that are identifiably Italian:
o Italians used forks 300 years before other Europeans, possibly because they were needed to handle pasta, which is slippery and dangerously hot.
o Italians invented the practice of chilling drinks and may have invented ice cream.
o Italian culinary practice influenced the rest of Europe to place more emphasis on vegetables and less on meat.
o Salad was a distinctive aspect of the Italian meal as early as the sixteenth century.
The authors focus on culinary developments in the late medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque eras, aided by a wealth of cookbooks produced throughout the early modern period. They show how Italy's culinary identities emerged over the course of the centuries through an exchange of information and techniques among geographical regions and social classes. Though temporally, spatially, and socially diverse, these cuisines refer to a common experience that can be described as Italian. Thematically organized around key issues in culinary history and beautifully illustrated, "Italian Cuisine" is a rich history of the ingredients, dishes, techniques, and social customs behind the Italian food we know and love today.
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Italian cuisine: a cultural historyUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
In this history of Italy's food, cooking, and eating, the authors have opted for an "everything including the kitchen sink" approach. Throughout, Capatti, who has written several books on food and ... Read full review
Review: Italian Cuisine: A Cultural History (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History)User Review - Karen - Goodreads
I got this for a birthday or Christmas present some years ago. I still remember the fascinating origins of pasta, and the insane use of sugar! Read full review