Why Italians Love to Talk About Food
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Italians love to talk about food. The aroma of a simmering ragú, the bouquet of a local wine, the remembrance of a past meal: Italians discuss these details as naturally as we talk about politics or sports, and often with the same flared tempers. In Why Italians Love to Talk About Food, Elena Kostioukovitch explores the phenomenon that first struck her as a newcomer to Italy: the Italian "culinary code," or way of talking about food. Along the way, she captures the fierce local pride that gives Italian cuisine its remarkable diversity. To come to know Italian food is to discover the differences of taste, language, and attitude that separate a Sicilian from a Piedmontese or a Venetian from a Sardinian. Try tasting Piedmontese bagna cauda, then a Lombard cassoela, then lamb ala Romana: each is part of a unique culinary tradition.
In this learned, charming, and entertaining narrative, Kostioukovitch takes us on a journey through one of the world's richest and most adored food cultures. Organized according to region and colorfully designed with illustrations, maps, menus, and glossaries, Why Italians Love to Talk About Food will allow any reader to become as versed in the ways of Italian cooking as the most seasoned of chefs. Food lovers, history buffs, and gourmands alike will savor this exceptional celebration of Italy's culinary gifts.
abandon the party in order to found another, he exclaimed: “With you . . . will go those who grilled the steaks at the feasts of L’Unità.”1 But it did not end there. Political divergence found a place even within the DS itself, and in February 1998, concluding their meeting in Florence, D’Alema attacked the sacredness of that which no one had dared challenge until then: the tortellini of Emilia. Tortellini were the chief specialty of the sagre of “red Emilia Romagna”! They were an icon of the
Bari, and the one from the Salento Peninsula (in the provinces of Lecce, Brindisi, and Taranto). The varieties of oil take their names not from the farms or estates, but from the cities: “oil of Trani,” “oil of Barletta,” etc. This type of designation is very common in Italy, where every city boasts its own gastronomic emblem, but it is particularly characteristic of Puglia, where the majority of the land is cultivated by city farmers, who in the evening return within the stone walls of their
as World Heritage Sites. Alberobello is a town made up entirely of rather large trulli, with hundreds of whitewashed cones that attract crowds of tourists. The trulli are rented to tourists in the summer, or transformed into luxury hotels. This type of dwelling was invented in the sixteenth to seventeenth centuries, during the Spanish maladministration of Puglia, but spread to numerous towns in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Apparently the windowless houses were designed specifically to
chicken and shrimp, onion, white wine, and cream (everywhere). Fenescecchie (ø 6 mm, length 40 mm, rolled around a knitting needle). With meat sauce and tomato or fish and tomato (Puglia). Fettuccelle (fresh egg pasta, ø 6–7.3 mm, length 300 mm or more). With truffles (Piedmont). Fettuccine (fresh egg pasta, ø 8–10 mm, length 300 mm or more; long, flat noodles, wider than linguini, but can substitute for them in all recipes). With thick sauces: especially good with a sauce of cream and walnuts
that our nation is an assemblage, more so than a people. But when the dinner hour strikes, seated before a plate of spaghetti, the inhabitants of the Peninsula know that they are Italians just as those beyond the Channel, at teatime, know they are British. Not even military service, not even universal suffrage (not to mention taxes) exert the same unifying influence. The unity of Italy, which the fathers of the Risorgimento dreamed of, is today called pastasciutta; no blood was shed for its sake,