Delizia! The Epic History of the Italians and Their Food, By John Dickie

Delizia!, by John DickieDelizia! is a very intersting account of the history of Italian food. The book uses separate narratives to delve into the roots of Italian food, and in the process, dispel the popular myths of Italian cuisine. The history is well written and very well researched. At first, I was disappointed as the book seemed to move away from food and become a history of Italy (and a basic summary at that), but as the book progressed I realized that the two are inextricably intertwined. The biggest revelation has to do with the acceptance of ‘peasant food’ into today’s Italian cuisine. Both pasta and pizza were cheap eats for the masses and derided by tourists and bourgeoisie alike (the aristocracy dined on French cuisine, avoiding local fare altogether). But both prosperity following World War II and a sense of heritage have turned these two foods into the essence of Italian dining. The book ends with a discussion of Slow Foods (a movement started in Italy) and the future of Italian food. Overall, a well written and readable history with interesting revelations throughout.

4 out of 4 Stars

Reviewed by Michael Stefanac, Business and Accounting Division