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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.
Columbia University Press
— Priscilla Ferguson
— Antonio Carluccio
— Mark Knoblauch
Introduction: Identity as ExchangeItaly: A Physical and Mental SpaceThe Italian Way of EatingThe Formation of TasteThe Sequence of DishesCommunicating Food: The Recipe CollectionThe Vocabulary of FoodThe Cook, the Innkeeper, and the Woman of the HouseScience and Technology in the KitchenToward a History of the Appetite
Columbia University Press
Posted September 16, 2004
This book is rich in conclusions and jargon. It is deficient in cohesion and support for assertions. It covers much - perhaps too much, and wearies the reader. It is an excellent college text.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 4, 2013
No text was provided for this review.