In this new episode of Thoughts on the Table, Eva from Electric Blue Food is back to help me break down a massive topic: What makes a dish Italian?
To non-Italians, Italian food may be what appears on the menus of Italian restaurants or anything tagged as Italian that goes viral on social networks, like Carbonara, Amatriciana, Neapolitan Pizza, egg-yolk ravioli. To the Italians, Italian food is what they naturally cook at home, and maybe the only thing they are able and equipped to cook. These are potentially two very different things!
With many cuisines, we see a set of iconic dishes that become famous around the world through some kind of selection (like Pad Thai, Chicken Vindaloo, Salmon Teriyaki). Despite helping to make those cuisines accessible to many, these dishes are really just a small sample of the foods originating in their native regions. Eva and I argue that the (often ill-formed) quest for “the original” or “the authentic” version of these recipes may contribute to weeding out all variations of those dishes except for their dominant ones. This is probably why abroad there tends to be only one kind of Tiramisu (the coffee/cocoa one), whereas in Italy important spin-offs happily co-exist.
Join us in this episode to hear more about the true cuisine of Italy by going over some unexpected Italian dishes, such as Mostarda, Bagna Cauda, Prosciutto and Cantaloupe, as well as evidence of many dishes sometimes labeled as “non-authentic” that are eaten daily all around the Peninsula, like Spaghetti alla Bolognese, Gnocchi al Pesto, Lasagne al Pesto, Carbonara with Pancetta, and Strawberry Tiramisu.
Finally, Eva describes her experience with the Polish cuisine of her grandmother and her encounter with Blueberry Pierogi, a sweet variation of the iconic potato dumpling that is equally unexpected outside of Poland.