Garlic and Oil: Politics and Food in Italy
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Pasta, cappuccino, olive oil--Italian food is a favorite in our cafes, restaurants and homes. But what is the history of Italian cuisine? And where do we get our notions about Italian food? Contrary to popular belief, the Italian diet was inadequate and unchanging for many decades. Successive political regimes--liberal, fascist, democratic--struggled to improve eating habits, shaping not only Italian cuisine but Italian identity. This book reveals the harsh reality behind the myths surrounding this highly-romanticized cuisine.
Throughout the summer and fall of 1915, bakers and butchers shut down their stores in response to the attempts by local authorities to institute fixed prices. Consumers were outraged by these shutdowns and local authorities were helpless in the face of consumer/merchant conflicts. In the town of Chiàvari, near Genoa, bakers went on strike after the price of bread was lowered from 55 to 50 cents per loaf. In response to the rumors that bakers left their shops in order to take a holiday, citizens
the aesthetic or tactile experience. To the Futurists, presentation and form outweighed substance and volume. Pasta, as a filling carbohydrate, represented an excess of volume. The Futurist battle against pasta attracted a fair amount of curiosity and attention. Articles in newspapers and culinary periodicals like La cucina italiana reported on scientific debates about the nutritional value of pasta and sitings of Marinetti himself devouring huge plates of spaghetti. Futurists defended themselves
Mussolini was disappointed in Italy’s military performance in Ethiopia (he disliked the open fraternizing between Italians and Ethiopians), and he despised the intellectual and middle classes, who were rotten with ‘cowardice, laziness (and) love of the quiet life.’124 During the brief life of the Italian Social Republic, Mussolini became even more determined to reignite the fascist revolution, to transform what he called the ‘inferior category … physically and mentally below par, blind, lame,
communications interests, and a very public representative of McDonald’s. Indeed, only successful businessmen can afford to open a McDonald’s franchise in Italy, as a minimum of 150,000 Euros is needed to start the initial investment, not to mention the charisma, perseverance, and connections one needs to obtain the appropriate licenses and permits for highly visible locations in historic city centers.17 The latest chapter in the McDonald’s in Italy saga is the corporation’s recent lawsuit
broth, or hot foods like maccheroni, served at the numerous osterie: in all the streets in the worker’s neighborhoods there are osterie that have stoves set up out-of-doors. Here the maccheroni is always boiling and there are pans containing tomato sauce and mountains of grated cheese … the portions are small and the buyer fights with the owner because he wants a little more sauce, a little more cheese, and a little more maccheroni.18 Consumers who had more than two soldi to spend on food were