Friday, July 11, 2008

Home Food Movement in Italy

It never ceases to amaze me! The Italians get it and deliver it. There is a movement in Italy that you should look into for a great meal and a great experience while visiting Bell'Italia...Home Food.

I read about it in the American Way magazine on my last flight to San Francisco.

In short, women and families throughout Italy created a network of home chefs that love to cook authentic Italian food and offer the experience to travelers.

From the article:Sensing a culinary collapse in her own country, 71-year-old Italian sociology professor Egeria Di Nallo, a Bologna native, teamed with the University of Bologna and the Association for the Guardianship and Exploitation of the Traditional Culinary- Gastronomic Heritage of Italy in 2004 and dreamed up a little something called Home Food. Like the name suggests, Home Food is a network of home cooks -- mainly Italian women, known as Cesarine (“empresses”), named such as a nod to the mothers, aunts, and grandmothers who have passed on the traditional recipes of the country through the ages -- who are fervently preserving the culinary traditions of one of the most gastronomically blessed places on earth.

AT THE TIME OF THIS WRITING, there were 250 Cesarine spread throughout all the regions of Italy. So the next time you are in Bologna, you can forgo the exhaustive search through the university town’s lovely medieval streets that ends up with you on the losing end of bad Bolognese, and instead feast on salsiccia passita (traditional pork sausage) and Bolognese-style veal cutlet, a recipe that first appeared in local cookbooks in 800 AD. You can enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime meal with local wines and cheeses in an attic home just a few steps from the former residence of Giosuè Carducci, one of Italy’s greatest poets and a 1906 Nobel Prize winner.Each time you step into a Cesarina’s home, you are embarking on a rare journey of taste that harks back to the region’s traditional cuisine before it was pierced and prodded by the modern world. In the words of Home Food, you will be “avoiding flights of imagination, fusion, or contamination that have taken the foods away from their traditional form.” On the Home Food website (, each Cesarina’s menu reads like gourmet Dante: vivid descriptions of transcendent meals bookended by historical context. You can literally swallow the past.“Home Food has looked for and found in Italian families the people who are repositories of the ancient knowledge of our cookery and has convinced them to share their knowledge and experience with a larger circle of people whilst at the same time remaining within their own domestic environment,” writes Di Nallo on her company’s website.

This is a fantastic opportunity to do as the Italians do!

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