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Food and Place in Italian Food Culture



Food and Place in Italian Food Culture

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Food and Place in Italian Food Culture
Wednesday, November 20th at 6pm
Italian Cultural Institute - 500 N Michigan Ave, Suite 1450



Presented on the occasion of the 4th edition of the Week of Italian Cuisine in the World. The theme of this year's Italian Cuisine Week, which will take place from November 18-24, 2019, is Food Education: The Culture of Taste. This yearly initiative was developed to promote Italian culinary traditions and food-and- wine connoisseurship as a distinctive trait of Italian identity and culture.

In this lecture, Prof. Simone Cinotto will discuss the bond between food and place, which is felt very strongly in Italian culture. Italy boasts the record number of local specialty foods recognized by the European Union as PDOs and PGIs (protected denomination of origin and protected geographical indication) and any Italian cookbook proliferates with recipes a la Milanese, Bolognese, Venetian- or Roman-style. Italians’ attachment to place, whether their hometown, region, or nation, is most strongly represented by their attachment to some food "of our own"—and the other way around. The Slow Food philosophy has gained global traction by supporting a farm-to-table food consumerism inspired by, and based on, the protection and promotion of Italian farmers’ traditional local knowledges and bio-cultural landscapes. Yet, by any account, Italian culinary culture is the product of exceptionally intense mobility and exchange, from the importance of American plants such as tomato, chili pepper, corn, and potato in defining it, to the role of the million cooks in the diaspora in creating a previously non-existent, and now globally-revered, Italian Cuisine, to the recent immigrants from the world’s south providing most of the labor in Italian farms, processing plants, street markets, and restaurants. What are the political, social, and cultural origins and consequences of this paradox? Presented in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Prof. Simone Cinotto is Associate Professor of Modern History at the Università di Scienze Gastronomiche in Pollenzo, Italy, where he is the Director of the master’s program “Master of Gastronomy: World Food Cultures and Mobility.” He has been Visiting Professor at Indiana University (2017), the Department of Italian Studies at New York University (2008-2010), and the School of Oriental and African Studies at University of London (2015-2019). He has also been Visiting Scholar at the Center for European and Mediterranean Studies at NYU (2013-2015) and Fellow of the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America at Columbia University (2004). Cinotto is the author of The Italian American Table: Food, Family, and Community in New York City (University of Illinois Press, 2013) and Soft Soil Black Grapes: The Birth of Italian Winemaking in California (New York University Press, 2012); the editor of Making Italian America: Consumer Culture and the Production of Ethnic Identities (Fordham University Press, 2014), which won the 2015 John G. Cawelti Award for the Best Textbook/Primer of the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association; and the coeditor, with Hasia Diner, of Global Jewish Foodways: A History (University of Nebraska Press, 2018). Cinotto has three books in preparation: Cibo: A Modern History of Italian Food (Oxford University Press); The Puerto Ricans and Italians of New York: Migration and Mobilization in the Atlantic World; and Transatlantic Emotions: The Mental and Intimate Biography of an Italian Immigrant to America, 1905-1942. Cinotto is the Co-Editor of Gastronomica and on the editorial board of Food, Culture, and Society and Global Food History among other journals and book series. He organized a joint conference with NYU and the University of Toronto titled “Food Mobilities: Making World Cuisines” (Pollenzo, Italy, June 5-9, 2019), which will also develop into a book.

Free and open to the public.
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Date: Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Time: At 6:00 pm

Entrance : Free


Istituto Italiano di Cultura - 500 N Michigan Ave,