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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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The Artusian Synthesis

The Artusian Synthesis

(p.47) The Artusian Synthesis
Italian Identity in the Kitchen, or Food and the Nation

Massimo Montanari

Columbia University Press

This chapter considers Pellegrino Artusi's genuine “national” cookbook La scienza in cucina e l'arte di mangier bene (1891), which set out to unify the country's gastronomic practices. Artusi searched local traditions for recipes that he deemed acceptable to a wide audience. He then printed the book at his own expense, and sold it by mail from his home in Florence. The Artusian cookbook suggests a mutual understanding of practices and products, including diversity as an indivisible element of national identity. In his codification of the primo—or first course—as an opening dish, an Italian meal model was established. Artusi certified the birth of a modern Italian cuisine that established itself not only among the urban middle class, but among the popular classes as well.

Keywords:   Pellegrino Artusi, gastronomic practices, Artusian cookbook, primo, Italian meal model, modern Italian cuisine

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