Authentic Italian Food – How To Enjoy It In Italy  

Authentic Italian Food – How To Enjoy It In Italy  

There is a famous story about an Italian professor who decided that he wanted to eat real Italian food so he hired a simple country girl to cook for him. On the first evening she cooked him beans and pasta. The professor was somewhat disappointed, but he told himself    he had asked for rustic food. Perhaps the next meal would be different.

But on the second night his new cook came into the dining room with a plate of beans and pasta. So it went on until he finally decided to speak to the girl and asked her why she only cooked beans and pasta. “That is what we eat at home,” she told the professor.

Italian cooking has been formed by hardship and poverty. That is especially true in the south and middle of Italy. Northern Italy has historically been richer and its traditional dishes are richer. In Southern Italy rich food was the preserve of the nobility and heavily influenced by French cuisine.

Italian cooking has its own character in each region of the country. That is as one would expect in a country that was only unified in the late nineteenth century. Italians did not even speak the same language until recently. They can hardly be expected to have the same style of cooking.

Industrialization has homogenized Italian cooking to some degree as it has everywhere. You will find the same brand names throughout Italy. Italian women seldom spend all their lives at home these days. They do not have the time that previous generations of women had to spend long hours over the stove. They are as likely to reach for a convenience food as other busy women.

But even having said all that there is something special about Italian food which comes down in the end to an attitude rather than to specific ingredients. In Italy there is an attitude to food that does not exist in many societies.

Meals are occasions for conversation among adults and children. Even small children are seldom sent to bed early. Go to any restaurant in Italy and you will see beautifully dressed children running about, eating a little, playing a little. They rarely have temper tantrums despite the late hour. A fractious baby or toddler will be whisked away to the kitchen in the arms of a waiter to be fed tit bits and entertained.


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