Why do Italians eat their pasta "al dente"? Is tempura really a Japanese invention? Why has pizza conquered the world? Any why has sushi conquered Italy? What does dried codfish have to do with the Council of Trent? And what links coffee to the birth of insurance companies? These are some of the topics addressed by this book. Gastronomy traditions, ways of cooking food, table manners, passion, revulsion, aesthetic values, local specialties, and territory reflect the relationships that people enjoy with themselves, each other, their land and their identity. Espresso coffee, meat sauce, tortellini, tomatoes, squash, mozzarella, cured meats, dried cod, Parmesan cheese, and Sicilian cassata are not merely culinary delicacies: they are key features of a grand canvas, of history as seen from the vantage point of Homo Edens.
Marino Niola teaches Anthropology of Symbols and Anthropology of Food at the Suor Orsola Benincasa University in Naples and the Gastronomic Science University in Pollenzo and Colorno.