/Is There Such a Thing as Italian Cuisine?

Is There Such a Thing as Italian Cuisine?


Is there such a thing as Italian cuisine? I’ll be tackling that question alongside historian Professor John Dickie and celebrated chef Francesco Mazzei at a special event at The London Review Bookshop on October 1.

Italy is home to rich and numerous regional cuisines that have been shaped by politics, economics, and geography. What we eat in Rome differs dramatically from classic Neapolitan fare or the typical dishes in the nearby Apennines. Considering the prevalence of unique regional foods, the notion of a universal Italian cuisine may seem absurd. But that doesn’t mean no one has ever tried to invent Italian cuisine.

Industrial food companies like Barilla and Mulino Bianco have been doing it for years and their marketing teams have fabricated national Italian food sensibilities and leveraged local stereotypes for their own commercial benefit in Italy and abroad. Join us for an evening of enlightening debate moderated by author Dino Joannides as we confront the question at hand.

Book your tickets here. The talk will be accompanied by a menu of seasonal food and Rose and Brut Prosecco from Bisol/Jeio. The food is provided by award-winning greengrocer Andreas of Chelsea and L`Emporio Fine Foods.

2017-02-17T15:15:14+00:00 September 24th, 2015|Categories: Food & Wine, Katie Parla Events, London|2 Comments


  1. Rosemarie September 24, 2015 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    I’m the proud owner of way too many Italian cookbooks to count (I just can’t stop buying them!) but I’ve also read John Dickie’s Delizia! and other books on Italian food history. What Dickie and co have to say is no doubt far closer to the historical reality than what we’ve often been led to believe. Unfortunately, I’m not based in London but this sounds like a great event.

  2. Allan Shewchuk September 28, 2015 at 1:21 am - Reply

    I am firmly of the belief that there is no true Italian cuisine- just local and regional dishes. Even after nearly 150 years of unification, the real unifying foods of Italy are: prosciutto (not just from Parma anymore- I had a Sardinian one at Trarroria San Pietro in Roma that was divine), some type of pecorino (proudly made and diverse) and maybe (maybe) spaghetti.
    These seem to me to be the only things you can get everywhere. Or, that Italians can agree on as essential.
    One day maybe things like nduga will be universal too. But, that is a long way out based on my experience.
    That is why I love to read about your adventures, Katie.
    You are literally watching the change happen. Keep up that hard work (ha!) on all of our behalves. Good luck at your talk.

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