On the occasion of SCIM 2023 – Italian Cuisine Week in the worldhere we are at a new chapter on the history of emigration cuisine, presented in the de project The Italian kitchen The Tales of the Roots,in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. This time we present the article by Elisabetta Morofull professor of Cultural Anthropology at the University of Naples Sister Orsola Benincasa, holder of the teaching of History of gastronomy of the Mediterranean countries at the University of Naples Federico II, member of the Assembly of Italian National UNESCO Commission and director of Virtual Museum of the Mediterranean Diet. Moro examines the profound bond with his own “maternal cuisine”, establishing an effective parallel with language: just as there is a maternal language, in fact, so too does a diet, a cuisine, a gastronomy that speaks the language of the soul. Below is the article and, then, a recipe taken from the volume created for SCIM 2023, I Racconti delle Radici.
The colors of Italianness – by Elisabetta Moro
«Man is what he eats said the philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach. But when man emigrates, then eating becomes the home of his soul. Him the recipes, his prayers. The flavors are the memory of him. And the Sunday table the sap that nourishes his family tree, bringing it back to the depths of its roots, but also projecting it with new branches towards the future. Because the relationship that men have with food is similar to the relationship they have with language. Food and speech are natural and cultural at the same time, and obey partially unconscious rules learned even in the prenatal period. There are those who talk about «maternal nutrition just like we talk about «mother tongue. Because the first food experiences, just like linguistic ones, leave indelible traces. And they become even more evident in the dishes of Italians abroad. That they transformed tomatoes, parmesan, mozzarella and basil into as many colors of Italianness. Italians, in fact, always carry with them the hand luggage of gastronomic culture. The Fiorentissima demonstrates this history of Italian cuisine abroad, which for a few centuries has been producing recipes that are new and old at the same time. Like him spaghetti with meatballs Italian Americans, heirs of spaghetti alla guitar with Abruzzo pallottini and the use of meatballs in pasta flans from the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Or like the pizza with clams, which is neither new nor absurd, given that in the mid-eighteenth century in the alleys of Naples, where pizza was born, anchovies and clams were placed on the leavened disc seasoned with garlic and oil. In fact, those who emigrate preserve and contaminate, remember and renew. Thus the tricolor table on Sunday is still a ritual today, in which the homeland is recalled in the pots of ragù and the smells of toasted lasagne. Once prepared by grandmothers, today purchased already made. Because if it is difficult to find time to cook, on the other hand it is vital to remember, to renew the sense of an identity. But after all, what is identity really? It is truly the home of the soul. And if we think that the Greek word díaita – from which the Italian diet and the English derive dietthe Spanish diet – it really means mansionthen it becomes evident that all Italian cuisines, without exception, are the foundation of our community in the world.
The recipe from Belgium-France: Polenta with carrots and peas
Chef Emanuele Frigerio
Time 1 hour
Ingredients for 10 people
500 g corn flour for polenta
150 g boiled peas
150 g carrots
30 g onion
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Chop the onion and sauté it in a pan with 2 tablespoons of oil.
Peel the carrots and cut them into rounds, then add them to the onion.
Add salt and pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add the peas, add a little water and cook for about 15 minutes.
Prepare the polenta by pouring the flour into 1.5 liters of boiling salted water. Cook it, stirring, for about 45 minutes. In the end it should be quite soft.
Serve it together with the vegetables and complete with freshly ground pepper.
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