Al Dente: A History of Food in Italy

Al Dente: A History of Food in Italy

by Fabio Parasecoli
     
 


Over the last three decades Italian cuisine has gained in status as well as fame. It is not only served at family-style eateries, ice cream parlors, and pizza shops: high-end Italian restaurants are now listed among the most prestigious establishments in major cities worldwide. TV shows and magazines are full of Italian recipes, and culinary professionals… See more details below

Overview


Over the last three decades Italian cuisine has gained in status as well as fame. It is not only served at family-style eateries, ice cream parlors, and pizza shops: high-end Italian restaurants are now listed among the most prestigious establishments in major cities worldwide. TV shows and magazines are full of Italian recipes, and culinary professionals become celebrities, banking on their Italian origins. As Italian cuisine acquires new relevance, scores of tourists flock to the epicenter of it all: Italy.
The author shows that for centuries, countries such as Italy in the Southern Mediterranean fought against food scarcity, wars, invasions, and an environment that was often not very favorable to agriculture. With limited access to meat, dairy, and fats, they developed foodways that hinged on grains, pulses, and vegetables. It was only after the “economic miracle” of the late 1950s that the majority of the Italian population was able to afford a more diverse and abundant diet, albeit sacrificing traditional ways of life and culinary habits. New packaging and conservation techniques, industrial mass production, and more sophisticated systems of transportation and distribution brought profound changes in the way Italians ate and thought about food. Gradually, the rest of the world has become aware that the practices adopted by Italians constitute a healthy eating model, and its reputation has been growing exponentially ever since.

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Editorial Reviews

Italia Magazine

“In this fascinating guide, Parasecoli takes us through the history of Italy’s relationship with food, right back to the Romans, discussing the origins of olive oil and the importance of sun-ripened tomatoes. . . . The stories that are interwoven into the pages are essential reads for any budding connoisseur or general foodie.” 
Gillian Riley

“This cool analysis of the geopolitical background to the delights of Italian gastronomy is a welcome addition.”  
Choice

“This ambitious volume places discussions of food and food-related customs in the context of Italian history from the Neolithic to the present. Parasecoli leads readers on an engaging journey through time and geography. The author peppers the account with anecdotes and historical tidbits ranging from whether or not there was food scarcity during the Middle Ages to how changes in female empowerment have caused adjustments in portion sizes in the twenty-first century.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781780232768
Publisher:
Reaktion Books, Limited
Publication date:
05/15/2014
Series:
Reaktion Books - Foods and Nations Series
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
889,390
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

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