Course description: It is common knowledge that food has been one of the main features of Italian culture and of Italians both in Italy and abroad, while non-Italians have enjoyed it at least since the Grand Tour in the 1600s. A focus on Italian food culture and its characteristics throughout the centuries will help us define concepts such as “Italianness” and “Italian-Americanness” with the goal of also understanding Italian-American culture, especially in the 20th and 21st centuries. Understanding the evolution of Italian cuisine over time in terms of preparation and consumption is at the basis of understanding Italian identities and (regional) cultures both in Italy and abroad. With an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approach drawing together cross-cultural, linguistic, social, historical, political, economic, and geographic contexts, this course considers how Italian food culture and gastronomy have developed in Italy and abroad from the Middle Ages to the present, including the impact of Italy’s world-renowned “Slow Food” movement on our current habits of consumption.
The course is a mix of readings, lectures and guest lectures, discussions, tasting experiences, field trips, and practical cooking lessons in a residence hall kitchen, where the students learn how to prepare some Italian dishes.
Students Learning Outcomes: At the end of the course, students will have: (1) knowledge of distinctive features of Italian culture through gastronomy using interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches from various perspectives (cross-cultural, linguistic, literary, artistic, cinematic, historic, geographic, political, economic, and certainly gastronomic); (2) knowledge of the distinctive features of Italian-American culture by means of comparison to its Italian origins.
Required Textbook and Tools
- John Dickie. Delizia! The Epic History of the Italians and Their Food. New York, London, Toronto, and Sydney: Free Press, 2008. ISBN-13: 978-0-7432-7807-2.
- Apron, Kitchen Hat, Cutting Gloves