For each of our dishes a story to recount
In my (limited) spare time I take pleasure in reading about gastronomy. Particularly, lately I’ve been developing a passion about the history of Italian cuisine and much else. Such interest is due to the fact that in our tavern we offer dishes part of our Roman culinary tradition, dishes I’ve grown up with and seen made and that are part of my diet. Still, I didn’t know how old the recipes were and the exact origin.
To answer my own questions, I began documenting and one author I owe a lot to is Massimo Montanari, a medieval historian at the University of Bologna and an important scholar of nutrition history. His readings are eye-opening, in his books I found answers to my questions whilst apprehending new notions. For example I’ve learnt that the contemporary food tendencies (the modern revival of inferior cereals and the nostalgia for the countryside) are older than we think ; I’ve learnt about the symbolic value of food and thus its role as more than just nutriment: such is a case in ancient times where the upper class would consume a great deal of spices to show their wealth ; I’ve noted that recipes, most often than not, are the exchange of produce and knowledge between people from different places and of different backgrounds (how different would Italian diet be without pasta brought by the Arabs and tomato introduced in Europe after the discovery of the Americas?)
In closing, I’ve learnt from Montanari that although lots of Italian recipes can be attributed to specific local areas, they share common ground and characteristics.
To know more about the distribution of pasta in Italy and to find out which dish we offer in our tavern is the oldest or why the use of pork and lamb meats is so spread in our cuisine come visit me on this site, between lunch and dinner services I’ll try to offer you my readings in small bites!
Maria Chiara Di Felice