Pomodoro!: A History of the Tomato in Italy [NOOK Book]

Overview


More than just the beloved base ingredient of so many of our favorite dishes, the tomato has generated both profound riches and controversy in its farming, processing, exchange, and consumption. It is a crop infused with national pride and passion for those who grow it, and a symbol of Old World nostalgia for those who claim its history and legacy.

Over time, the tomato has embodied a range of values and meanings. From its domestication in Central America, it has traveled back ...

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Pomodoro!: A History of the Tomato in Italy

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Overview


More than just the beloved base ingredient of so many of our favorite dishes, the tomato has generated both profound riches and controversy in its farming, processing, exchange, and consumption. It is a crop infused with national pride and passion for those who grow it, and a symbol of Old World nostalgia for those who claim its history and legacy.

Over time, the tomato has embodied a range of values and meanings. From its domestication in Central America, it has traveled back and forth across the Atlantic, powering a story of aspiration and growth, agriculture and industry, class and identity, and global transition. In this entertaining and organic history, David Gentilcore recounts the surprising rise of the tomato from its New World origin to its Old World significance. From its inauspicious introduction into Renaissance Europe, the tomato came to dominate Italian cuisine and the food industry over the course of three centuries.

Gentilcore explores why elite and peasant cultures took so long to assimilate the tomato into Italian cooking and how it eventually triumphed. He traces the tomato's appearance in medical and agricultural treatises, travel narratives, family recipe books, kitchen accounts, and Italian art, literature, and film. He focuses on Italy's fascination with the tomato, painting a larger portrait of changing trends and habits that began with botanical practices in the sixteenth century and attitudes toward vegetables in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and concluded with the emergence of factory production in the nineteenth. Gentilcore continues with the transformation of the tomato into a national symbol during the years of Italian immigration and Fascism and examines the planetary success of the "Italian" tomato today, detailing its production, representation, and consumption.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Post - Billy Heller
[An] enthusiastic and informative look at the red fruit.
PopMatters - Diane Leach
Those with an interest in tomatoes, Italian life, or just cultural history in general may find this both enlightening and entertaining.
Choice
Bright and sunny as summer day, this chatty, informative miscellany harvests all that is of interest in the world of Italian tomatoes.
New York Post
[An] enthusiastic and informative look at the red fruit.

— Billy Heller

Choice

Bright and sunny as summer day, this chatty, informative miscellany harvests all that is of interest in the world of Italian tomatoes.

PopMatters
Those with an interest in tomatoes, Italian life, or just cultural history in general may find this both enlightening and entertaining.

— Diane Leach

Library Journal
Tomatoes may be associated with Italy today, but when first introduced to the country from Mexico in the 16th century, they were thought to be poisonous. Gentilcore (early modern history, Univ. of Leicester, UK; Medical Charlatanism in Early Modern Italy) explores how the tomato became a common condiment and eventually began to take center stage in the 1900s in Italian cuisine and why it took over 300 years. According to Gentilcore, Italy now produces "around 6.6 million tons of tomatoes," and the average Italian consumes almost 200 pounds of fresh tomatoes per year. Historical recipes are scattered throughout the text, and there is a comprehensive bibliography arranged by chapter at the end. VERDICT Food historians and readers interested in Italian cooking will enjoy this rich history of the tomato from its beginnings in the New World to its rise to fame in the Old World.—Nicole Mitchell, Univ. of Alabama, Birmingham
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Product Details

Meet the Author


David Gentilcore is professor of early modern history at the University of Leicester. He has written widely on the social and cultural history of Italy, from popular religion to the practices of medicine and healing. He is the author of Medical Charlatanism in Early Modern Italy, which was awarded the Jason A. Hannah Medal by the Royal Society of Canada.

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments1. "Strange and Horrible Things"2. Death by Vegetables3. "They Are to Be Enjoyed"4. Pasta al Pomodoro5. "Authentic Italian Gravy"6. The Autarchical Tomato7. The Tomato ConquestEpilogueBibliographyIndex

Columbia University Press

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