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ITALY: ITALIAN MEAL

the use of spices, such as ginger. Sausages in some parts of northern Italy are still called by an old name for Basil- icata (lucania or licanica or luganega), and so are some pasta dishes, such as cavatelli alla lucana with mushroom and sausage, or cavateglie e patate, pasta and potatoes with a ragù of rabbit and pork. Pasta dishes are often named af- ter towns, such as orecchiette alla Materana (a town in Basilicata), which has a sauce made of vegetables and arugula. Other pasta dishes are frequently served

all’arrabbiata.

In Calabria, pizza is called pitta (flat) and is served without tomatoes; ciambotta (big mixture) is a vegetable stew of eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, and onions; morseddu (little morsel) is a traditional breakfast dish of pork-tripe stew with liver and herbs served in a pitta; li- curdia is onion-and-potato soup; and millecosedde (thou- sand things) is a soup of dried beans and vegetables with pasta.

See also Pasta; Pizza.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bugialli, Giuliano. Traditional Recipes from the Regions of Italy.

New York: Morrow, 1998.

Johns, Pamela Sheldon. Italian Food Artisans: Traditions and

Recipes. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2000.

Mariani, John. The Dictionary of Italian Food and Drink. New

York: Broadway Books, 1998.

Root, Waverley. The Food of Italy. New York: Vintage Books, 1977.

Scully, Terence, ed. and trans. The Neapolitan Recipe Collection: Cuoco Napolitano. (New York, Pierpont Library, MS Buh- ler 19). Critical Edition and English Translation. Ann Ar- bor: University of Michigan Press, 2000.

Judit Katona-Apte

THE ITALIAN MEAL

Meals are a central part of Italian family life. Italians are passionate about food and eating, and much of their so- cializing is done around the sharing of meals. As with most cultures, there are specific dishes associated with specific Italian holidays. Unlike many Western societies, however, Italians have not embraced a multitude of for- eign and ethnic ingredients. Although Italian cities have many more foreign and fast-food restaurants than they did ten years ago, most Italian restaurants—and indeed most homes as well—take a more traditional and con- servative approach to meals. “Fusion” and “nouvelle cui- sine” are not terms commonly associated with Italian meals.

Fast food is popular with the young. Eating fast food is more a social than a culinary experience, and signifies conformity to a peer group, an identity independent of one’s household, modernity versus tradition, and being in the company of, and behaving according to the rules of, chosen friends as opposed to family.

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF FOOD AND CULTURE

Due to Italian attention to tradition, there are reac- tions. Movements such as il ricupero (the retrieval) and la riscoperta (the rediscovery) are founded to maintain tra- dition in the modern world. The best-known such ini- tiative is the “slow-food movement” that began in Italy in 1986 to challenge “fast food,” which was believed to harm health, destroy the environment, and wipe out tra- ditional cuisine. By 1999, thirty Italian towns had desig- nated themselves “Slow Cities,” where regional tradition in food, parks, and similar values are emphasized over traffic, neon signs, noise, and fast-food chains.

Shopping and Meal Preparation

The traditional Italian housewife shopped daily. Her morning visit to the open-air market was a form of rit- ual. In separate stalls she would purchase fruits and veg- etables, fish or meat, eggs, cheese, and salumi (cold cuts), depending upon what was in season and what she needed. If she needed something more in the afternoon, she could pop out to the latteria for fresh milk, the alimentari (gro- cery store) for bread, cold cuts, cheese, and packaged foods, the macelleria for meat, or the frutteria for fruits and vegetables. These small family-owned stores popu- lated every neighborhood. Today, however, things are changing. Supermarkets, especially the megastores, are rapidly replacing small neighborhood shops.

The designation of housewife (though she is likely to be a working woman) above is deliberate, for in tra- ditional Italian society gender roles are closely associated with food preparation. In the home, women are respon- sible for meals. Men may cook occasionally or prepare a specific dish, but the responsibility for daily cooking rests with women.

Eating Out

Average Italians do not socialize in their homes with friends and acquaintances; meals at home are usually shared with family members. Eating in restaurants with family, friends, and business associates is quite common. On weekends it is not unusual to see extended families of four generations eating at a large table. There are many different types of eating places, as described below.

A ristorante is traditionally a proper restaurant. Ris-

toranti have attractive table settings, starched tablecloths and napkins, and numerous choices for every course. To be a waiter is a career opportunity, and many stay with the same restaurant for a lifetime. Female waiters are still infrequent but are increasing in number.

A trattoria is a small eatery with a limited menu. An

osteria is a less sophisticated eating place frequented by neighborhood people, with a few characteristic dishes. Both are simple, family-run operations, in which people often sit at common tables, large sheets of butcher paper under their plates. A pizzeria is an eating establishment specializing in pizza. Some serve only pizza, salads, and antipasti (appetizers), while others also serve pasta dishes and a limited choice of meat dishes.

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