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How does one begin to encapsulate the varied cuisine of Italy? On this episode of A Taste of the Past, Linda Pelaccio is joined by Associate Professor at the New School, Fabio Parasecoli. Recently, Fabio released Al Dente, a book about the history of food in Italy. Learn how a desire for modernization suppressed the interest in Italian heirloom ingredients. Find out how economic conditions shaped Italian cuisine today. Why is Italian food so regionally diverse, and how do Italians express their local pride through food? How did Italians incorporate agricultural products from other areas into their culinary identity? Find out on this week's episode of A Taste of the Past! Thanks to our sponsor, The International Culinary Center. Music by Idgy Dean.

"There was this idea of being 'modern' rather than 'Italian', and that allowed for the spread of products throughout the country, and many of them were industrialized food products." [9:30]

-- Fabio Parasecoli on A Taste of the Past


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From food culture in 800BCE to the present day, this week's episode of A Taste of the Past will take you there. With the help of New School professor of food studies, Fabio Parasecoli, host Linda Pelaccio takes you on a world tour of food globalization throughout major world time periods. Parasecoli, who has also edited an encyclopedic 6-volume tome on the subject-- A Cultural History of Food-- discusses the rise of food scholarship in major learning institutes around the world as well how food, not just eating, is taking an ever-expanding presence in every aspect of daily life. This episode is sponsored by Fairway Market

"Food has become very important in social and political debates. So my question is were those debates already there at the Roman times, what happened in the middle ages? For example, is the family meal really an institution or did we create it 100 years ago and we just pretend its been there forever?"

--Fabio Parasecoli on A Taste of the Past


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On today's episode of A Taste of the Past, Linda Pelaccio is talking about Jewish Italian food, or Cucina Ebraica, with a panel of experts. Jayne Cohen is a food writer and cookbook author involved with preserving the culinary roots of Jewish cooking. Her most recent cookbook is entitled Around the Passover Table and Cooking for Jewish New Year. Cara De Silva is a food historian who writes about food and culture, and has authored In Memory's Kitchen: A Legacy from the Women of Terezin- a book featuring recipes from women in a Nazi concentration camp. Alessandra Rovati is a Jewish Italian food writer who also authors the blog Dinner in Venice. Tune in to hear how and when Jewish people immigrated to Italy, and how the various neighborhoods where they resided influenced their cooking. Learn why Jewish cuisine helped to popularize certain vegetables in Italian food, such as the tomato and the eggplant. What substitutes were used by Jews in the pork-heavy Italian diet? Hear about how ethnic tradition and cultural food survives through holiday meals. What Jewish foods have become part of everyday Italian cuisine? This program has been sponsored by Route 11 Potato Chips.

"The number of things that went into making Italian Jewish cuisine... created a cuisine of incredible variety- even though it was all Jewish in some way. There were also issues whether or not some of these dishes came to be associated with Jews- and that was sometime the case- but most of these dishes were brought by Jewish people." [6:50]

"There has been fusion since there have been borders!" [15:00]

-- Cara De Silva on A Taste of the Past

"One thing that is notable about Jewish Italian cuisine is that it was influenced by so many immigrants, sort of like Jewish food in the United States." [11:20]

-- Jayne Cohen on A Taste of the Past


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