Edition: 2021
Pages: 106
Series: EL
ISBN: 9788858106150

The Italian Culinary Identity

Massimo Montanari


Alexandria Publishing (Russia) - Columbia UP (USA)



If by 'Italian cuisine' we wish to designate a unified model codified into strict rules, it is pretty clear that such a thing has never existed in the past and does not yet exist today. If, however, we think of it as a 'web' of knowledge and techniques, as widespread familiarity with products and recipes from different cities and regions, then it is equally clear that an 'Italian' culinary style has been around since the Middle Ages.

Identities are not inscribed in the genetic makeup of a people but are built historically, in the daily patterns of colloquy between different human beings, experiences and cultures. The intrinsically Italian character of pasta, tomato sauce and hot pepper is indubitable. But so is the fact that all of these items originated in different cultures. It is precisely this kind of identity that we must seek out in an alimentary and gastronomic history of a country that models itself on shared values, knowledge and flavours.  

The author

Massimo Montanari

Massimo Montanari teaches Medieval History and History of Food at the University of Bologna, where he also directs the Masters in “History and Culture of Food”. His books are widely translated in many languages. His last work Il Mito delle origini. Breve storia degli spaghetti al pomodoro (Laterza, 2019) was a bestseller translated into English, Spanish, Greek, German, Hebrew, Slovenian.

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