Al Dente: A History of Food in Italy by Fabio Parasecoli

By Fabio Parasecoli

Pasta, pizza, parmesan cheese – we've got Italy to thank for a few of our favorite meals. domestic to a stunning array of wines, cheeses, breads, greens and salamis, Italy has turn into a mecca for foodies. open air Italy, towns around the globe are domestic to Michelin-starred Italian eating places and tv cooks extol the virtues of Italian delicacies, offering it as a version of unpolluted and fit consuming. Taking readers around the country’s areas and past, Al Dente explores how Italy’s cuisines turned what they're today.

For centuries, southern Mediterranean nations comparable to Italy fought opposed to foodstuff shortage, wars, invasions and an damaging agricultural atmosphere. missing meat and dairy, Italy constructed foodways that relied on grains, legumes and greens till a much better financial system within the overdue Fifties allowed nearly all of Italians to come up with the money for a extra varied nutrition. The final part century has noticeable new packaging, conservation strategies, commercial mass creation and extra subtle platforms of transportation and distribution, bringing approximately profound adjustments in how the country’s inhabitants thinks approximately food.

Including old recipes for scrumptious Italian dishes to get pleasure from along a pitcher of crisp Chianti, Al Dente is an interesting historical past of what's probably the world’s favorite delicacies.

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79 Before the Empire, most Romans had little orchards attached to their urban dwellings for the cultivation of vegetables such as radishes, chard, asparagus, artichokes, carrots, leeks, onions, garlic, lettuce and, above all, cabbage, considered particularly nutritious and healthy. Romans classified their food as fruges, the output of agriculture, and pecudes, the cattle that grazed on wild land as well as the game provided by hunters. 80 In fact, the early Romans ate very little meat, limiting their consumption to courtyard fowls, pigs and sheep.

The irregularity in the terrain, legal disputes and heritage customs contributed to an extreme fragmentation of the cultivated plots, surrounded by low walls and ditches, with small constructions. 60 The Greeks played an important role in the introduction of olives, grapes, capers, asparagus, cabbage, fennel, garlic, onions, oregano, basil and other vegetables originally from the eastern Mediterranean in many areas of southern Italy, and surely spread advanced growing techniques, which put them at an advantage compared to the surrounding populations.

This technique, extremely productive compared to the slash-andburn method used by the other Italic populations, was based on the division of the cultivated lands into defined fields, implying the existence of forms of private ownership that reflected complex social structures. Productivity also increased due to the digging of wells, which in some cases distributed water through a system of artificial tunnels that took advantage of springs and brooks. Perhaps through jealousy over the prosperity of their territory, the Etruscans were considered decadent and excessive in their consumption habits by neighbouring populations.

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