Against Spaghetti: Orange Risotto from F. T. Marinetti’s Futurist Cookbook (1932)

Against all commonly believed stereotypes, Italians can hate pasta. Indeed, let me confess: if I had to choose between a plate of spaghetti and a nice homey risotto, with whatever seasoning, I’d pick risotto again and again. Quite a few blog posts ago, I was telling you how to fix a nice tomato sauce for your spaghetti, and how pasta was of course portrayed as … Continue reading Against Spaghetti: Orange Risotto from F. T. Marinetti’s Futurist Cookbook (1932)

Yogurt’s Ancestor: Mezzorado, or Soured Milk in Natalia Ginzburg’s Family Sayings (1963)

As I (Nico) was hiking in the mountains of beautiful Slovenia this summer, I came across one interesting dish: soured milk, or kislo mleko as they call it on the sunny side of the Alps. Made with one main simple ingredient (milk), it is nevertheless complex to make as it can easily go wrong – on one occasion, a farmer had to regretfully deny us … Continue reading Yogurt’s Ancestor: Mezzorado, or Soured Milk in Natalia Ginzburg’s Family Sayings (1963)

Good Food, Not Just Any Food: Andrea Camilleri’s ‘Inspector Montalbano’s Arancini’ (1999)

Not long ago, I was informed by a student in an essay that the word ‘arancini’ had made its way into Oxford Dictionaries in 2014. This made me smile, of course, because it means Italian can still influence other languages –albeit mainly through food items. Then again, I find it hard to believe that such a specific Italian word for one type of Sicilian street … Continue reading Good Food, Not Just Any Food: Andrea Camilleri’s ‘Inspector Montalbano’s Arancini’ (1999)

A Literary History of Chocolate: Part 2

Similarly to England, in the early eighteenth century Italy saw the arrival and diffusion of the tea, coffee and chocolate, and the latter two in particular become particularly popular, with the creation of ‘botteghe del caffè’ (coffee houses), where you could also taste the miraculous chocolate drink – attitudes towards it were of course mixed, with one physician (Dr Giovanni Batista Felici) at the Tuscan … Continue reading A Literary History of Chocolate: Part 2

When you miss home: saltless Tuscan bread in Dante’s Paradiso (La Divina Commedia, c. 1304-1321)

As I (Nico, clearly) am about to leave Italy once again, and as migrants and refugees from North Africa and the Middle East sadly gallop through Southern Europe to reach the better-off North, the Literary Kitchen today will offer you something from a most famous Italian writer who went through political exile: Dante Alighieri (1265-1321). Dante was, of course, a privileged exile: being already a … Continue reading When you miss home: saltless Tuscan bread in Dante’s Paradiso (La Divina Commedia, c. 1304-1321)

Italy vs. England: E. M. Forster’s Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905)

  Shortly before I moved to the UK for my Ph.D., my father took me aside and told me I could not leave Italy before first having learnt how to make a proper salsa al pomodoro, a tomato sauce. At the time, I was compiling a recipe book with all the recipes from home I was sure I would have missed when abroad, and that … Continue reading Italy vs. England: E. M. Forster’s Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905)