"[I]n a modest apartment in the town of Nuoro, a slight 62-year-old named Paola Abraini wakes up every day at 7 am to begin making su filindeu – the rarest pasta in the world."
How Marsala Wine Became an Italian Typical Product: "It is not by chance that, when in the 1960s a “Protected Denomination of Origin” system was established, Marsala was the first Italian product to obtain such recognition. The history of this wine and the role that it plays in the international commerce since the end of the 19th c., is however strongly reliant on merchants and entrepreneurs that were not Italian, but English."
On appeal, Italy's Supreme Court of Cassation has overturned the conviction for theft of Roman Ostriakov, a homeless man who stole a few Euros worth of sausages and cheese in 2011. The court ruled that "in the face of the immediate and essential need for nourishment" the theft was not a crime.
Isabella Rossellini's daughter Elettra has a witty, attractive food/recipe blog where she shares a customizable pasta dish her grandfather, the iconic director Roberto Rossellini, used to make.
"If we start from the guts, we go back to our origin. It is the butchers, in the end, that bring our food back to the rusticness of the tribe." Italian butcher Dario Cecchini, guts a pig, and discusses the tradition and art of butchering and the importance of being "responsible carnivores...thankful for the gift." Cecchini is the "Dante-quoting butcher" featured in Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany. And here's another video with a similar message, but a different piece of meat, more details about his village as a "tiny little gastronomic republic" and instructions on how to use every piece of the pig "in the best way."
In 1929, Italian artist (author of The Futurist manifesto) Filippo Tommaso Marinetti opened a restaurant, La Taverna del Santo Palato [Tavern of the Holy Palate] in Turin. In 1930/31, Marinetti went on a polemical crusade against pasta, decrying it as holding the Italian people back. In 1932, he wrote La Cuicina Futurista [The Futurist Cookbook]. Part manifesto, part cookbook, all promotional, it contained a host of sensational delights, like "Chicken Fiat": chicken roasted with steel ball bearings, on a bed of whipped cream, as well as desciptions of banquets, and a recounting of his success against pasta. [more inside]
"If there is an assassination planned for the meal, then it is seemliest that the assassin should be seated next to he who is to become the subject of his craft" - Leonardo da Vinci: head of the kitchen, designer of horse-pulled nut-crushers, inventor of napkins, and assassination etiquette expert.
The UK has opened its first social supermarket as a means of combatting food poverty.* [more inside]
The Geometry of Pasta. If you click on a shape, on most of them, it tells you a bit of history and recipe suggestions. l Pasta shape names l Recipes l Farfalle (butterflies/bow-ties) with Prosciutto and cream animation. The geography of pasta l The origins of pasta. Glossary. More pasta shapes. [more inside]
I don't know if this is more troubling than any of the other anti-immigrant movements that have been cropping up in Europe, or whether it's just that Italy has Silvio Berlusconi (previously on MeFi), but with the fingerprinting of Roma, including their children, the destruction of Roma camps and the blase attitude towards two Roma girls found dead on an Italian beach, one wonders whether comparisons to the 1930's may become justified. Now, in an act that, while not violent, is perhaps even more indicative of the country's views on race the city of Lucca and the region of Lombardy have banned the opening of new "foreign" restaurants, as, one newspaper put it "a new Lombard Crusade against the Saracens." [more inside]
Sicilian chef Filippo La Mantia has sworn off garlic. La Mantia says that garlic is a "leftover from when Italians were poor", and feels it is overplayed and unnecessary. Others disagree, like chef Antonello Colonna: "eliminating garlic is like "eliminating violins from an orchestra".
McDonald's gets bad review, sues critic. "McDonald's has labelled as "defamatory and offensive" an influential Italian food critic, who poured scorn on the quality of the fast-food giant's cuisine. The corporation has sued Edoardo Raspelli, a critic and commentator for the Italian newspaper La Stampa, after he compared its burgers to rubber and its fries to cardboard, in an article last year. McDonald's is seeking undisclosed damages, possibly as much as the 21m euros (£15m; $25m) it spent on advertising in Italy last year. " Is it really defamation if it's true? What if every restaurant that got a bad review decided to sue?