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Italian Identity in the Kitchen, or Food and the Nation$
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Massimo Montanari

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231160841

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231160841.001.0001

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Popular Culture and Culture of the Elite

Popular Culture and Culture of the Elite

(p.19) Popular Culture and Culture of the Elite
Italian Identity in the Kitchen, or Food and the Nation

Massimo Montanari

Columbia University Press

This chapter talks about the distinction between the gastronomy of lower classes (bourgeois) and ruling classes (noble). From the Middle Ages and beyond, the alimentary culture of European elites emphasized meat, which symbolized privilege and power. Humble foods, such as grains, beans, and vegetables, “revealed” a peasant nature, as well as inferior grains which yielded dark breads. However, the alimentary identity of certain Italian localities in the north contrasted with the “Mediterranean” tradition of the south. This can be seen in the gastronomic innovations of Bologna, which includes grapes, figs, and cabbages. Through the social exchanges in Italy between city and country, they eventually developed a culinary tradition based on a variety of botanical products.

Keywords:   bourgeois, noble, European elites, Middle Ages, meat, vegetables, alimentary identity, Bologna

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