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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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Preservation and Renewal of Alimentary Identities

Preservation and Renewal of Alimentary Identities

(p.33) Preservation and Renewal of Alimentary Identities
Italian Identity in the Kitchen, or Food and the Nation

Massimo Montanari

Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses the products that entered the Italian alimentary system in the modern era. The fifteenth century marked the introduction of rice into the agronomy and eating habits of the north, whereas buckwheat from Asia, spread throughout the Alpine and pre-Alpine regions as the new grain for making polenta. In the eighteenth century, corn became prominent in Italian culinary practices because of the famine that afflicted the population of the Italian countryside, and the growth of agrarian capitalism. It was also because of hunger that potato was introduced. The attempt to use potato in bread making reveals the tendency toward cultural assimilation, which similarly occurred with the rediscovery of tomato in the form of a sauce—tomato sauce—that became a monumental event in traditional Italian cuisine.

Keywords:   rice, buckwheat, corn, Italian culinary practices, agrarian capitalism, potato, tomato sauce

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