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Knowledge about Italian Food

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I know briefly abt Italian food but would like to know how it's divided, how many types and the history of its various cuisine. It's a very healthy food group gaining popularity rapidly across the world. It is a cuisine we must delve in debt. Your contribution please?

Thanks with metta,
"The truth cook hold in his palm the happiness of mankind", quote Normal Douglas, South Wind.
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"The truth cook hold in his palm the happiness of mankind", quote Normal Douglas, South Wind.
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post #2 of 14
CookwithLove


Your question is so broad that it's impossible to answer.
Nothern, Central and Southern Italy have distinctive region approaches to cooking.
For example, the further north you go, the more cooking is done with butter, in the South, it's mostly done with olive oil.

And of course, there are more specific regional culinary pockets all througout Italy.

I would suggest you take a culinary education tour of Italy and pick a little form each region that you go to, and create your own Italian style menu based off what you learn.

Cat Man
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

Italian Cuisine

Thanks Cat man for your frank advice. I would like to explore and learn more about the different regional cooking of this beautiful country rich in diversity and culture.
"The truth cook hold in his palm the happiness of mankind", quote Normal Douglas, South Wind.
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"The truth cook hold in his palm the happiness of mankind", quote Normal Douglas, South Wind.
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post #4 of 14
There are this series of books put out by Culinaria. They break differnt cuisines down by region but also food catagory (i.e., pastas, liquors, offals, etc. depending on book). They have a few recipes but thats not really the focus. Some spotlight articals, and lots of pictures. Ok they are not the authority on the cusine, nor is it in any way comprehensive, but I think it is a great way to get an idea of where to start.

I have the France one and the European Specialty one and frequently use them as resources. My husband is French and I have lived there for years I we both feel this is a fairly nice and fun book on the subject.

Italy (Culinaria)
"Just can't wait to get on the road again."
Willie Nelson
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"Just can't wait to get on the road again."
Willie Nelson
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post #5 of 14
Yeah, trying to nail down specifics in any old world country is difficult, because every town or village you go to does things a little different, and they all claim to produce the true and original recipes.
post #6 of 14
Don't flame me, but Molto Mario show on the Food Network is a pretty good source for that kind of info.

I also enjoy the Culinaria books, I got a good deal on them at CostCo.
post #7 of 14
Northern Italy eat more hearty meaty meals versus the southern part of Italy eating more seafood since it is so readily available to them.
post #8 of 14

no fire here

While I think most of the guys on FN are sell-outs, Mario knows italian food like nobody's business.
post #9 of 14

What a question

I know a lot of people are telling you how broad this topic is and i agree. but, ill give you a little insight as to what i know as an italian american.

Italian food is "of the region" . Take for example the northern part of italy is cooler and more mountainous than the south so youll find more sheep. in the south youl find more cattle. This is why norther italians use more romano cheeze, its made from sheeps milk the souther part would use more buffalo or cows milks. thus parmasian or mozz. Take Sicaly a small island limited with cattle or sheep these people eat more seafood. Basicly, Whatever is out your door or in your garden youll have for dinner. italian food is a "lazy" food, people were more concerned with having a good time and spending time with family than cook all day. so if your garden had tomatos, garlic, maybe a zuchinni youd propably have that cooked into a sauces searved with whatever protien or carb available.

Pesto is a great example of adaptable italian food. Everyone knows Basil does not grow in winter. But the flavor is so fresh and a favorite to the italian palete. olive oil lasts months why not take the basil and submerge it in the oil reducing its leaves to air which would rot it. you would have a fragrent oil that tastes great. people started to take this oil and add garlic for the same reason, then cheese and pine nuts salt and pepper and you have Pesto, to understand italian food you need to look at it in the simpleest form. Italians want to party and have a good time. the last thing they want to do is slave in the kitchen. At least that was what i was told.

hope this helped a little
Robert Forti A.K.A. GourmetAmor
Gourmet and Compay

"Good Food And Good Wine never tastes as good without good Friends And Family" Visit my myspace page. www.myspace.com/gourmetandcoDont forget to add me as a friend.
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Robert Forti A.K.A. GourmetAmor
Gourmet and Compay

"Good Food And Good Wine never tastes as good without good Friends And Family" Visit my myspace page. www.myspace.com/gourmetandcoDont forget to add me as a friend.
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post #10 of 14
... in debt?
post #11 of 14
GourmetAmor has the right idea. Italian cuisine is driven by availability of indigenous products, and is a great cuisine on which one can develop an understanding of cuisine and culture. Ironically, if you look at the multitude of health problems Americans have related to diet, many can be traced back to our insistence upon using out of season or out of location ingredients, thus necessitating chemical preservatives or enhancements.

Every village in Italy has an agricultural or aquacultural item for which it is famous, and the cuisine of that village celebrates that ingredient. Of course, I am over-simplifying, but availability drives the cuisine.

You will rarely see a Sicilian recipe include white truffles from Piemonte, and similarly Sicilian oranges won't show up in a Piemontese dish.
post #12 of 14
Check out Heat by Bill Buford It has a lot of kind info.
post #13 of 14

Region to Region - town to town

Yeah, Italian cooking is almost a misnomer since there is no one "true" Italian style. Most of what we know as "Italian" here in the US is the food from Emilia-Romangna which has the town of Bologna in it, which is considered the culinary capital of Italy. Think rich, hearty Bolongese sauces - almost a "Rococo" style of cooking as flavors are layered on in heaps and bounds.

But is that "Italian"? Yes and no. It is a type of Italian, and a very good one at that. But if you head over to Tuscany, the flavors are simple, clean and pretty much one to a plate by comparison. Heck, they don't even use salt in their bread in Tuscany, which I personally find inedible...

But the point that you use what you have in front of you, or available, is an apt one when considering how Italians eat. Since the history of Italy is not one of a unified country, but rather one of individual city states that were only recently (in the grand scheme of things) unified, each region developed its own cooking style, and sticks by it fiercely.

I taught a class on "Northern Italian Cuisine" once, and found it to be a tough topic - I had to limit which regions I dealt with if only because every time I added a new state, there was a whole new cooking tradition to take into account. A great book that talks about regional Italian cooking, and deals with each region individially is "Italy, the Beautiful Cookbook" And, yes the pictures are quite nice as well.
Deglazed
My Continuing Journey Into the Kitchen...
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Deglazed
My Continuing Journey Into the Kitchen...
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post #14 of 14
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