Celebrity Chef/Award Winning Author Maria Liberati shares a review on a book about travel and eating in Italy. Find more recipes and travel stories on The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm BLOG based on the Gourmand World Award Winning Book series The Basic Art of Italian Cooking at www.marialiberati.com.
Editor: Chris Manganaro
Every food we eat is a combination of ingredients which unify into one complete recipe. This unity is important to the flavor of a dish. If the ingredients do not work well together, then what we get is a dish best not served at all rather than served warm or cold.
In Eating Up Italy: Voyages on a Vespa by Matthew Fort, our intrepid traveler takes a trip through Italy following the route of Giuseppe Garibaldi from south to north in order to explore the route which was part of the unification of Italy. Though his trip is about food, he is able to explore this theme quite well and even find deeper meanings.
At times in the book, he directly links food production and even food in general such as pasta and pizza to the idea of unity in Italy. From different angles, he is able to see food as something almost political. One can easily see how pasta has just as many variations as dialects. Often with food, there is even the trouble of arguments being made one way or another about whether or not something is prepared in a specific way. Food simultaneously unifies and separates the people of Italy. He is able to imply this both in a subtle and obvious way through his different interactions with others.
In the end, as is often the case with travel, he reflects on his journey and the theme of unity. He realizes that there are deep divisions and does not dismiss them, yet he does see unification. It is amazing how deeply one really needs to look to see it, but it is there. It is, quite literally, the seed of an idea. As Fort poetically puts it, “It is the passion to grow things to eat, and the casual, commonplace, everyday passion displayed in cooking and eating them, that forms the true, common individual and social currency that fuses the country together.” This is a conclusion that the reader is able to see in reading his book. It wonderfully summarizes what can be seen in his travels. If one believes in the unity of food, they must see that every aspect of it influences the rest, like ingredients in a recipe.
Published in: Cooking