chapter
3 Pages

regional cooking

It has been remarked that Italy, an ancient country but a young nation, finally managed through political unification in 1860-1 to bring together a wide range of regional states, all different from each other and all with strong individual identities. This observation might serve equally well to underscore the unity in diversity of Italian regional cooking, for a large part of the originality and richness of Italy’s great culinary tradition derives from its twenty diverse regions, which are characterized by different geographical and climatic features, varying ethnic ancestry of the natives, individual agricultural products and diverse histories. Another factor in the culinary equation is that, on the whole, two parallel eating traditions have survived for centuries as a reflection of the social divide between the rich and the poor. The first is documented in detail by books on gastronomy written by experts, the second is borne out by traditions passed down through generations. In addition, one needs to keep in mind the obvious but important fact that the poorer classes were inevitably forced to rely on what was available and affordable to them in the areas where they lived.