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Book Group: Delizia!: The Epic History of the Italians and Their Food
February 2, 2017 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pmFree
To RSVP email the Book Group at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Book Group is open to anyone who can read, loves cooking a dish, and likes a good conversation.
The Book Group meets the first Thursday of the month, 7 – 9pm in Sebastopol. It’s a convivial dinner. Please bring a dish for four and a beverage.
To be a member of the Book Group you don’t need to be a member of Slow Food, although – of course – we hope that with time you will become one.
Summary of Delizia!
Buon appetito! Everyone loves Italian food. But how did the Italians come to eat so well?
The answer lies amid the vibrant beauty of Italy’s historic cities. For a thousand years, they have been magnets for everything that makes for great eating: ingredients, talent, money, and power. Italian food is city food.
From the bustle of medieval Milan’s marketplace to the banqueting halls of Renaissance Ferrara; from street stalls in the putrid alleyways of nineteenth-century Naples to the noisy trattorie of postwar Rome: in rich slices of urban life, historian and master storyteller John Dickie shows how taste, creativity, and civic pride blended with princely arrogance, political violence, and dark intrigue to create the world’s favorite cuisine. Delizia! is much more than a history of Italian food. It is a history of Italy told through the flavors and character of its cities.
A dynamic chronicle that is full of surprises, Delizia! draws back the curtain on much that was unknown about Italian food and exposes the long-held canards. It interprets the ancient Arabic map that tells of pasta’s true origins, and shows that Marco Polo did not introduce spaghetti to the Italians, as is often thought, but did have a big influence on making pasta a part of the American diet. It seeks out the medieval recipes that reveal Italy’s long love affair with exotic spices, and introduces the great Renaissance cookery writer who plotted to murder the Pope even as he detailed the aphrodisiac qualities of his ingredients. It moves from the opulent theater of a Renaissance wedding banquet, with its gargantuan ten-course menu comprising hundreds of separate dishes, to the thin soups and bland polentas that would eventually force millions to emigrate to the New World. It shows how early pizzas were disgusting and why Mussolini championed risotto. Most important, it explains the origins and growth of the world’s greatest urban food culture.
With its delectable mix of vivid storytelling, groundbreaking research, and shrewd analysis, Delizia! is as appetizing as the dishes it describes. This passionate account of Italy’s civilization of the table will satisfy foodies, history buffs, Italophiles, travelers, students — and anyone who loves a well-told tale.
Table of Contents
Tuscany : don’t tell the peasants
Palermo, 1154 : pasta and the planisphere
Milan, 1288 : power, providence, and parsnips
Venice, 1300s : Chinese whispers
Rome, 1468 : respectable pleasure
Ferrara, 1529 : a dynasty at table
Rome, 1549-50 : bread and water for their Eminences
Bologna, 1600s : the game of cockaigne
Naples, late 1700s : maccheroni-eaters
Turin, 1846 : Viva l’Italia!
Naples, 1884 : Pinocchio hates pizza
Florence, 1891 : pellegrino Artusi
Genoa, 1884-1918 :emigrants and prisoners
Rome, 1925-38 : Mussolini’s rustic village
Turin, 1931 : the Holy Palate tavern
Milan, 1936 : housewives and epicures
Rome, 1954 : miracle food
Bologna, 1974 : mamma’s tortellini
Genoa, 2001-2006 : faulty basil
Turin, 2006 : peasants to the rescue!
Exhaustively researched, full of fascinating anecdotes, and at least as much history and sociology as cuisine. Learn about the Renaissance’s obssession with sugar and spice, how the Arabs invented pasta, why northern Italians thought pizza would give them cholera, and how many “traditional, authentic” Italian foods are relatively recent (i.e. 20th century) inventions.”
By Rocio C. on the blog, How to be the hero of your own kitchen! (February 15, 2016)
“John has built an intriguing, complex and unexpected narrative around Italian food.Food as a cultural product manifests so much more than evocative traditions or idyllic family scenes. Food as life itself adapts to survive. It says so much more about raw hunger and bold desire than any other social manifestation. Because unlike anything else, we need food to live, whatever it takes, however it comes. More…
By Paul Levy in the Observer (August 18, 2007)
Author Dickie, John, 1963-
Title Delizia! : the epic history of the Italians and their food / John Dickie.
Imprint New York, NY : Free Press, 2008.
Edition 1st Free Press hardcover ed.Descript x, 367 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm.
Contents Tuscany : don’t tell the peasants — Palermo, 1154 : pasta and the planisphere — Milan, 1288 : power, providence, and parsnips — Venice, 1300s : Chinese whispers — Rome, 1468 : respectable pleasure — Ferrara, 1529 : a dynasty at table — Rome, 1549-50 : bread and water for their Eminences — Bologna, 1600s : the game of cockaigne — Naples, late 1700s : maccheroni-eaters — Turin, 1846 : Viva l’Italia! — Naples, 1884 : Pinocchio hates pizza — Florence, 1891 : pellegrino Artusi — Genoa, 1884-1918 :emigrants and prisoners — Rome, 1925-38 : Mussolini’s rustic village — Turin, 1931 : the Holy Palate tavern — Milan, 1936 : housewives and epicures — Rome, 1954 : miracle food — Bologna, 1974 : mamma’s tortellini — Genoa, 2001-2006 : faulty basil — Turin, 2006 : peasants to the rescue!
Note Includes bibliographical references and index.
Subject Gastronomy — Italy — History.
Food habits — Italy — History.
Cooking, Italian — History.
Italy — Social life and customs.
LC CARD # 07015302