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CIVILT TAVOLA

DELLA ACCADEMIA ITALIANA DELLA CUCINA


L NA IO AT ON RN ITI TE D IN E

LACCADEMIA ITALIANA DELLA CUCINA


A CULTURAL INSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF ITALY FOUNDED IN 1953 BY ORIO VERGANI

www.accademia1953.it

N. 220, OCTOBER 2010

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LACCADEMIA ITALIANA DELLA CUCINA

1953 DA ORIO VERGANI DINO BUZZATI TRAVERSO, CESARE CHIODI, GIANNINO CITTERIO, ERNESTO DON DALLE ROSE, MICHELE GUIDO FRANCI, GIANNI MAZZOCCHI BASTONI, ARNOLDO MONDADORI, ATTILIO NAVA, ARTURO ORVIETO, SEVERINO PAGANI, ALDO PASSANTE, GIAN LUIGI PONTI, GI PONTI, DINO VILLANI, EDOARDO VISCONTI DI MODRONE, CON MASSIMO ALBERINI E VINCENZO BUONASSISI.
STATA FONDATA NEL E DA LUIGI BERTETT,

CIVILT TAVOLA
DELLA ACCADEMIA ITALIANA DELLA CUCINA INTERNATIONAL EDITION

DEAR ACADEMICIANS

10 How Spaghetti ended up


in Cans (Marino de Medici)

OCTOBER 2010 / N. 220 PUBLISHER GIOVANNI BALLARINI EDITOR IN CHIEF GIANNI FRANCESCHI ASSISTANT EDITOR AND ART DIRECTOR FRANCESCO RICCIARDI EDITORIAL SECRETARY TILDE MATTIELLO COPY EDITOR SILVIA DE LORENZO LAYOUT MARIA TERESA PASQUALI TRANSLATORS NICOLA LEA FURLAN DONALD J. CLARK
THIS ISSUE INCLUDES ARTICLES BY

Cuisine and the State of the Nation (Giovanni Ballarini)

12 The Lemon Citrus


of Pietrasanta (Monica Cofone)

FROM THE EDITOR

The Cuisine of the Three-Ps (Gianni Franceschi)

14 Molise Nocera) Corn (Enzo 15 Tasting a Museum (Francesco Ricciardi) 17 Futurism inDenora) Venice (Giovanni 19 The Prickly Pear Courir) in Sicily (Laura Ghittino

CULTURE AND RESEARCH

6 8

Monica Cofone, Giovanni Denora, Marino de Medici, Laura Ghittino Courir, Cinzia Militello, Enzo Nocera, Massimo Pisani, Francesco Ricciardi. O O O

Palermo Street Food (Cinzia Militello) Undiscovered Naples (Massimo Pisani)

PUBLISHER ACCADEMIA ITALIANA DELLA CUCINA VIA NAPO TORRIANI 31 - 20124 MILANO TEL. 02 66987018 - FAX 02 66987008 presidenza@accademia1953.it segreteria@accademia1953.it www.accademia1953.it EDITORIAL OFFICE VIA CASALE TOR DI QUINTO 1 - 00191 ROMA TEL. 06 3336102 - FAX 06 3336102 redazione@accademia1953.it
O O O

MONTHLY MAGAZINE REG. N. 4049 - 29-5-1956 TRIBUNALE DI MILANO PUBLISHED BY RICCIARDI & ASSOCIATI SRL VIA DEL CASALE DI TOR DI QUINTO 1 ROMA

On the cover: Detail from Il Mercato del Verziere, by Alessandro Magnasco (circa 1733) at the National Gallery at the Sforza Castle, Milan. See the article on page 25.

Rivista associata allUnione Stampa Periodica Italiana

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Cuisine and the State of the Nation


BY

GIOVANNI BALLARINI President of Accademia

Awareness of the Academy must constantly be increased.

ear Academicians, Academy is a word that evokes a place of learning, study and excellence. The word comes from the name of the gardens dedicated to the hero Academo, or Ecademo, a sort of gymnasium for training and developing the body, before it came to refer to a school for training the mind. It was a public area conceded to the teacher Plato to instruct an elite group of students, among them Aristotle, who spent twenty years of his life there, first as a student, then as an assistant and finally as a teacher himself. To teach is not really an appropriate verb for the true meaning of Academy in that it evokes a bureaucratic method of transferring knowledge, while in the true Academy both the teacher, his assistants (as we would call them today) and the students sought to gain knowledge together, using a method with a name all its own, sunphilosophein, first coined by Aristotle, which soon mutated into the more commonly known term symposium. The spirit of the original Academy and of every successive Academy (such as ours) is not merely about transmitting existing knowledge imposed irrefutably from above, but rather is a continuous and shared search (with a very different method from that which today is attributed to the term academician also used in a pejorative sense for to refer to a knowledge that is both fossilized and hardly, if at all useful). To paraphrase one of Platos notions (or that of one of his disciples) academic knowledge cannot be transmitted, but only continually con-

structed or reconstructed, and that like a flame, to must first be born and communicated after a long period of discussion of the subject, and once born must be able to feed itself. An academic discussion must employ friendly rebuttals, non-hostile questions and answers, opinions examined without prejudice and evaluated with deliberate reflection, all in a pleasant environment, like the first Academy beneath the trees of the park of Academo (which according to tradition were Plane trees). A discussion in our Academy has its reference point in the conviviality of the table and in the pleasantness of the symposium. The original Academy was not only concerned with ideas but also with concrete problems, both general and practical: among them, the concept of pleasure. Our Academy must research a great variety of subjects. Research and life are two concepts that must always be closely joined in order to avoid falling into sclerotization, which has led to the death of other academies with noble pasts. Is Italian cuisine in crisis? Or are the values that distinguish it in crisis? Or perhaps we cannot manage to comprehend the new values that are replacing the old ones during the continuous process of social change and evolution which is occurring independent of our sensibilities, habits, opinions and above all our tastes? Remember La Rochfoucaulds affirmation: Our self esteem tolerates the condemnation of our tastes better than that of our opinions. These words have never been truer than they are today; this broad and distin-

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guished theme and its consequences are of vital importance for our society. A subject that can more easily be confronted and academically debated in the last century and a half concerns the changing relationships between cuisine and the processes that unfolded during Italian unification and especially the transformation of the Italian state. Cuisine and the state of the nation are two important issues that have many and varied regional and historic roots, but which also have a so-

cial impact, especially in terms of the radical economic evolution of our country, and consequently on our nutrition and cuisine. The fact that the latter is a mirror of a society is borne out by historic, literary, sociological testimony. The emerging middle class undoubtedly observed the relationship between cuisine and the evolution of society during the century from 1860 to 1960. It also played a part in the interpretation of cultural trends, and it was in this environment that our

Academy was founded and developed. In the last half-century many things have changed and will continue to change with a speed that seems ever faster. We have witnessed the participation of new social classes and cultures in the world of gastronomy in a social condition that is both complex and delicate and which requires our Academy to remain faithful to its mission of studying the culture and civilization of the table.

GIOVANNI BALLARINI

DELEGATIONS OF THE ACCADEMIA ABROAD


ARGENTINA: BUENOS AIRES Alberto Lisdero, MENDOZA Ramiro Marquesini AUSTRALIA: ADELAIDE Carmine De Pasquale, BRISBANE Alessandro Sorbello, CANBERRA Laura Giovenco Garrone, MELBOURNE Miro Gjergja, SYDNEY Renzo Franceschini AUSTRIA: VIENNA Anthony Handler BELGIUM: BRUSSELS Isabella Quattrocchi BRAZIL: BRASILIA Delegate to be named, RIO DE JANEIRO Fer nanda Maranesi, SO PAULO Achille Marco Marmiroli, SO PAULO SOUTH Giancarlo Affricano CANADA: EDMONTON John Di Toppa, MONTREAL-QUEBEC Giorgio Lombardi, TORONTO ONTARIO Marisa Bergagnini, VANCOUVER Laura Rosazza Pela CHILE: SANTIAGO Tiberio DallOlio CHINA: GUANGDONG Vinicio Eminenti CROATIA: SPLIT Riccardo Mazzucchelli DENMARK: COPENAGHEN Piero Marotta UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: UNITED ARAB EMIRATES Delegate to be named, Honorary Delegate S. E. Paolo Dionisi FINLAND: HELSINKI Enrico Casagrande FRANCE: BORDEAUX Stephane Felici, PARIS Luisa Branlard Polto GERMANY: BERLIN Claudio Ciacci, COLOGNE Vittorio Lucchetti, DSSELDORF Giovanni Cariola, FRANKFURT Rodolfo Dolce, MUNICH Bernardo Zanghi JAPAN: TOKYO Glauco Pompilio GRANDUCHY OF LUXEMBOURG: LUXEMBOURG Maria Cristina Cogliati Sansone IRELAND: DUBLIN Paolo Zanni ISRAELE: TEL AVIV Ever Cohen LEBANON: BEIRUT Mario Haddad MOROCCO: CASABLANCA Claudio Voltolina MEXICO: MEXICO CITY Franco Veciarelli, GUADALAJARA Luca Dori NORWAY: OSLO Mauro Brecciaroli NEW ZEALAND: Delegation being reorganized THE NETHERLANDS: AMSTERDAM-LEIDEN Alberto Gianolio, THE HAGUE-SCHEVENINGEN Alessandro Argentini, UTRECHT Italo Romano De Lorenzo POLAND: WARSAW Tessa Capponi Borawska PORTUGAL: LISBON Jose Manuel De Sousa Buccellato PRINCIPALITY OF MONACO: MONACO Fernanda Casiraghi UNITED KINGDOM: EDINBURG Ciro Campanella, LONDON, Benito Fiore CZECH REPUBLIC: PRAGUE Giancarlo Bertacchini REPUBLIC OF SAN MARINO: SAN MARINO Leo Marino Morganti DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: SANTO DOMINGO Mario Boeri ROMANIA: BUCAREST Guglielmo Frinzi SINGAPORE MALAYSIA INDONESIA: SINGAPORE MALAYSIA INDONESIA Anna Marmiroli SPAIN: BARCELONA Adolfo Valle, MADRID Maurizio Di Ubaldo, VALENCIA Donata Volpi UNITED STATES: ATLANTA Angela Della Costanza Turner, BALTIMORE Delegazione in ricostituzione, BOSTON Gianfranco Zaccai, CHICAGO Nicola Fiordalisi, HOUSTON (TEXAS) Charles D. Jr Maynard, LOS ANGELES Francesca Valente, MIAMI Pasquale Emanuele Viscuso, NEW JERSEY Carlo Porcaro, NEW YORK Francesca Baldeschi Balleani, NEW YORK SOHO Berardo Paradiso, SAN FRANCISCO Walter Romanini, VIRGINIA Hartley Schearer, WASHINGTON D.C. Giuseppe Cecchi SOUTH AFRICA: JOHANNESBURG Aurelio Armando Grech-Cumbo SWEDEN: STOCKHOLM Paolo Parini SWITZERLAND: Geneva-Lman Emilio Castelbolognesi, LAUSANNE-VENNES Dominique Bellomo, RHONE Franco Antamoro De Cespedes, FRENCH SWITZERLAND Giulio Alby, ITALIAN SWITZERLAND Paolo R. Grandi, ZURICH Maria Elisabetta Odermatt Capei TURKEY: ANKARA Delegato in corso di nomina, ISTANBUL Metin Ar HUNGARY: BUDAPEST Alessio Ponz De Leon Pisani URUGUAY: MONTEVIDEO S.E. Guido Scalici

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The Cuisine of the Three-Ps


BY

GIANNI FRANCESCHI

Around the world, Italian cuisine is freeing itself from these heavy chains.

talian cuisine was once considered the cuisine of the three Ps: Pasta, Pizza and Pomodoro (tomatoes). It used to be an excessively plain and limited cuisine, and as such it was taken across the Atlantic by our expatriates, who were accustomed to this - so to speak - basic food even in their mother country. These constraints were due, in part, to the difficulties encountered in transportation at the time: it was easy

to receive pasta and canned tomatoes from Italy. Other ingredients were nowhere to be found or they were very expensive. Suffice to say that, at the beginning of last century, a company from Bologna was exporting canned tortellini to the United States. We shudder at the thought of what they must have been. Today, Italian cuisine around the world has freed itself from the heavy chains represented by the three-Ps thanks to fine chefs who shared their knowledge, abilities and expertise, aided and encouraged by high-quality and very fresh Italian products which were available thanks to a rapid and efficient transportation system. To give just one example, Italian restaurants in New York or Beijing, Sydney or Berlin receive buffalo mozzarella almost the same day it is made. Our Academy has done a lot and is still doing much to safeguard the authenticity of Italian cuisine, and to guarantee the high quality of our wine and food products, all too often adulterated and falsified. However, if nowadays Italian cuisine has finally freed itself from the grasp of improvising cooks, pseudoItalian trattorie and restaurants, the same is not true for some similarly noble cuisines that are arriving in our country. Lets talk about Chinese cuisine. The restaurants which offer Italian patrons authentic food from the old Celestial Empire can be counted on one hand. Instead, cities are teeming

with restaurants of all sizes, carry-out establishments that remind us of the Three Ps. They offer menus limited to spring rolls, Cantonese rice and that oddity called fried ice cream. It is difficult, if not totally impossible, to find a lacquered duck, just to mention one superb classic Chinese dish. Typically these restaurants have cooks that simply improvise; they muddle through, rummaging through memories of the poverty of their family meals. Less a work of improvisation- at least in our country - is Japanese cuisine, where sushi and tempura, now part of our collective imagination, know no rivals. Rising-Sun inspired restaurants are less popular, because they are more expensive than Chinese restaurants. But the quality, service and ambience are far better. Arab countries gave us the kebab and today many Egyptian pizza-makers offer, besides Italian pizzas, this roasted and highly aromatic lamb meat, cut into thin slices and served in sandwiches. It's an exotic alternative to the multinational hamburger. The global village also reflects a form of gastronomy which often neglects originality and quality. The transition made by Italian cuisine, from the three Ps to today's successes, has been a long, slow and difficult process. Focusing on quality, professionalism and originality, Italian cooks have conquered the world. This is not the case for many other cuisines, worthy though they may well be of our respect and attention.

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Palermo Street Food


BY CINZIA MILITELLO Caltanissetta Delegate

An ancient, world-wide tradition.

incenzo Borruso, professor of Cultural Anthropology specializing in food at the Food Science School of the University of Palermo, accepted an invitation from the Caltanissetta Delegation and spoke to Academicians on the theme of Street Food: The Art of Communication. He started off by stating that from ancient times the working classes of our country have spent much of the day outdoors and have been accustomed to eating the food they buy from shops or food stands in the streets. Eating street food, oftentimes alone or with others, certainly violates the principles governing how one eats at home and ignores the intimate ritual of sitting together at the same table, with a fixed hierarchy in terms of position occupied, serving oneself or being served, depending on the level of prestige enjoyed within the family or group, the nature and position of the tables, or the mense. Mense in the Latin world were composed of a slab of bread on which the various dishes were set out for consumption. From this came the word compagno derived from the expression cum panis which designated those who ate their meal together with bread. However, this habit of eating in the street was always considered to be a form of communication, a sign of solidarity among the intermittent customers; acknowledging someone who enjoys the same dish and revels in the same aromas can give a sense of complicity and solidarity among

the impromptu consumers of street food. And between one bite and another, a comment or two on how good it is, what a good choice was made, and how much better it is than what one gets in a restaurant, comes naturally. Pompeii still shows us a series of shops in which people could eat some bread and something with the bread (companatico is another term deriving from cum panis) and drink wine or water. It is natural that in our country eating food in the street was encouraged by the climate; for many months of the year weather conditions allowed people to live outdoors, just as the climate led to the development of outside games and spectacles. Today, with globalization, certain food traditions similar to ours have been adopted by countries outside of Europe, and a new Anglo-Saxon expression, street food has been coined, as well as finger food (delicacies), small portions of food to be eaten with ones fingers. It should be noted that in the old days using one's hands to eat was considered a royal gesture. It was not until the 16th century that different suggestions were made on how hands were to be used when eating: Mr. Della Casa advises limiting their use as much as possible when dining. But by then western civilization had invented the fork. In any case the most obvious problems nowadays derive from the fact that street food - if we can really continue

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to call food that is prepared for consumption and distribution through sales points and machines - is oftentimes not connected to the culinary traditions of the country, and is becoming instead junk food according to Coldiretti Italiana. This organization has repeated the alarm sounded by American researchers in Nature Neuroscience; they report that hamburgers, fried potatoes and sweet snacks are creating dependence and generating concern; even in Italy, the consumption of fatty foods and sugary beverages, consumed by 41% of children every day, is on the rise. Traditional street food can be found in every part of the world, particularly in Africa and Asia. In the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, the tradition is a long one and over the centuries Italy has distinguished itself - as have almost all of its regions - by inventing a series of dishes which even today characterize the land in which they were created. Sicily represents one of the richest areas of our country for street food, with a tradition that has lasted for centuries, bringing together the legacies of classical Greek and Roman civilizations, the Arabs and the Spanish. Even today, in the midst of a total globalization of the food system, the consumption of street food is significant; it has been little affected by new trends which, when they are accepted, oftentimes are adapted to traditional Sicilian cooking. This is especially true in Palermo which has incorporated several new ways of eating away from home, accepting the kebab and McDonald sandwiches

without forgetting any of its own street foods. We can cite the selling from panellerie, permanent and mobile shops set up on a cart or on a lapa (Piaggioss Ape three-wheeled vehicle, in which they fry (and you can see) the oilseed cakes, flour fried with garbanzo beans and parsley, cazzilli, fried potato croquettes with parsley, rascatura, whatever can be scraped from the pots in which kneaded garbanzo bean flour and potatoes have been cooked and then fried in boiling oil, quagghi or fried eggplant, (whole eggplants split into quarters and called as such because when they are fried they resemble quails). This food is generally eaten in sandwiches made of very soft, round bread, or in malfade (another form of bread in Palermo) which has had the soft inside part removed. Other food produced by the panellaro are arancine, croquettes of boiled rice filled with capuliatu of meat sauce with peas, and fried; a variation is the arancina with butter which is characterized by its conical shape. There are panellari shops where one can buy typical Palermo dishes for immediate consumption or for take-out, such as i sardi a beccafico prepared with deboned sardines rolled in breadcrumbs, grape juice and pine nuts; fried cicirello (small fish) or squid, broccoli, cardoones and artichokes fried in batter. Even today, bread and panelle is the typical food of students between classes or workers taking a break. And even though they are now sold through automatic distributors set up in all the schools, friggi e mangia (fry and eat) adapted to a lapa is never missing

during recess time in the schools. Another type of street food still eaten frequently in Palermo, is the sfincionello, made from a circular base of flour batter on which tomato and onion sauce is applied and prepared separately, salted sardines and breadcrumbs. A few minutes in the oven and it is fragrant and ready to eat. Even today, using vehicles such as the lapa or customized pickup trucks, they are prepared and sold outside schools during recess, or In front of worksites. Another Palermo street food, known throughout Italy, is u pani ca meusa, bread with spleen. It consists of a soft loaf of bread filled with calf's spleen, boiled and cut into thin slices, fried with lard in a pan before placing it inside the sandwich which is then cut into two halves. The stigghiola occupies a special place among street foods. This is lamb or goat intestines (and sometimes even those of other animals) washed in water and salt, seasoned with parsley or layers of onions, spitted or rolled and tied and cooked over coals. Classic stigghiola should contain the curdled milk of the animal (lamb or kid goat) still inside the intestine as the animal should be butchered while it is still nursing from its mothers milk. Seasonal street food includes babbaluceddi (small snails) cooked and seasoned with oil and parsley and displayed in the streets as pyramids built upon large flat baskets made of woven cane. They are sold and eaten on a cabbage leaf and the shell is tossed on the ground after the snail has been sucked out.

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Undiscovered Naples
BY MASSIMO PISANI Naples-Capri Delegate

Neapolitan cuisine is rich in simple and tasty recipes.

everal years ago Intra Moenia of Naples published a book written by Academician Lejla Mancusi Sorrentino entitled The Twelve Masterpieces of Neapolitan Cuisine. The author correctly lists them as: minestra maritata (wedding soup), rag meat sauce, genovese (braised beef), sart di riso (rice timbale) gatt di patate, (mashed potato cake), pizza, eggplant Parmesan, mozzarella, pastiera (ricotta cake), sfogliatella (filled pastry), and sorbetto (sorbet). However, in addition to these dishes that are known the world over, Neapolitan cuisine is full of many others that, while less familiar, are no less sumptuous. These are the simple, tasty, and almost spartan daily recipes, created through centuries of experience and care in the kitchens of rich and poor alike, by people possessing great imagination, if sometimes little else. I would like to highlight some of them, and I will begin with salsicce con friarelli (sausage with broccoli). Together they make up a substantial and successful second course, although the two ingredients may be enjoyed individually and can stand on their own. Friarelli is a kind of broccoli that is grown in Campania. It is slightly bitter, has tiny flowers and can be prepared in a variety of ways to create truly exceptional dishes.

But the living end, as we say, is to enjoy them inbroscinati, or sauted in a pan with olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. It is a simple food of the poor using a locally grown crop. The case of the sausages is a bit different: they are cooked in a pan with a little white wine or light beer and a bay leaf, but they must be a punta di coltello, or hand sliced, with the butcher filling the casing with bits of prosciutto and lard cut from the piece of pork with a sharp knife, adding a little salt, black peppercorns and a some red wine. Salsicce con friarelli are such a widespread and popular second course that a famous pizzeria in central Naples offers a pizza topped with sausage and broccoli, and calls it alla carrettiera. Another little masterpiece is the frittata di scammaro (fasting day eggless spaghetti omelet). A very light dish, it is an omelet made using spaghetti or linguine seasoned with garlic, olive oil, pitted black olives from Gaeta, and a handful of capers and parsley. It is scrupulously made without eggs. It must be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. It is a dish typically served on Christmas Eve, but often in summer as well when the hot weather calls for light and fresh food. Alexandre Dumas Senior, who loved Naples and covered the length

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and breadth of the area in his carroccio, or carriage, frequently maintained (rather snottily) that the Neapolitans enjoyed eating that horrible cephalopod octopus, among other vile things. Later, with the curiosity of a true gourmet, he tasted it and found it so delicious that he adopted the recipes for it. Who knows if he ever tried genuine polpetielli affogati in red sauce? Take care, for the polpetielli must be genuine, found among the rocks, and not their poor cousin the sinischi, which are bottom feeders. They are easily recognized by the two rows of bumps on each tentacle, and they should be cooked, as Eduardo De Filippo said, pippiando, that is, simmering in a pot with peeled plum tomatoes, oil, garlic, and a pinch of salt. The sauce, thick and shiny, can also be used to season a plate of spaghetti. Some of the older restaurants in Posillipo still serve this,

sometimes adding black olives and capers. And now lets turn to anchovies, so beloved by Asti Academician Giovanni Goria, who has praised them on these pages. This delicious silver, slippery little fish fragrant with the scent of the sea should be must freshly caught, preferably at night, because it does not exist farmed or frozen. It can be served in an infinite number of ways: marinated in oil, vinegar or lemon, and dried red pepper; arrecanato, i.e., cooked in a pan with a spray of vinegar, oil, garlic, breadcrumbs and oregano; deep fried or pan fried; ammollicato (marinated) or imbottonato (browned and braised), or any way the imagination can invent. Delicious prepared in any manner, anchovies are a classic food of the poor: tasty, inexpensive and tied to local tradition. Since we are on the subject of fish, we must not neglect the mixed fried fish from the paranze! Paranze are

large fishing boats, which run parallel dragging a net between them. At the break of day, when the paranze return to port, one can buy the small fish that were caught in the net, clean them, fry them in boiling oil, and serve them piping hot with a wedge of lemon. A mixed paranza fry always contains some mullet, small cod (you can eat the tail), sometimes a small sole, some calamari rings and some shrimp. I could go on and on, but it would be impossible to end this article without mentioning one more dish that has made Neapolitan cuisine world famous. I refer to vermicelli or linguine with clams. It goes without saying that the pasta must be handmade, using semolina flour and slowly dried, like that produced in Gragnano, Torre Annunziata, and Torre del Greco. The fresh clams should open up in a sauce of olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes and served in their shells over the pasta.

GUIDELINES FOR SUBMITTING ARTICLES TO THE MAGAZINE


The contribution of Academicians to this magazine is not only welcome, but indispensible. Academicians should keep in mind some basic guidelines so that their writing - the fruit of their passion and labor may be correctly and expeditiously published. Articles: whenever possible, articles should be sent via email to this address: redazione@accademia1953.it Article Length: Articles should be between 4,500 and 5,500 characters (including spaces) in order to avoid bothersome cuts. Your computer should indicate the number of characters. Convivial Meeting Reports: Please limit meeting reports for the Notes and Comments section to ten lines (equivalent to 600 characters including spaces) to avoid cuts. Reports that are received by the secretarial staff more than 30 days after the event will be discarded. Following these simple guidelines writers can be reasonably certain their work will be published accurately and in a timely fashion, thus avoiding those often lamented unwelcome cuts. The editorial staff reserves the right to verify facts and revise articles, and to edit them according to space limitations.

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How Spaghetti ended up in Cans


BY MARINO DE MEDICI Academician from Virginia

The story of an Italian entrepreneur.

t is not news that Italian pasta has climbed to the top in the United States but it is surprising that the United States is the second producer of pasta in world, just behind Italy, and that it is second, after Italy, in the consumption of pasta per capita. However, if you ask a young American which type of pasta he or she knows best, the answer will be prompt: Chef Boyardee. Who is this person? It is not a joke and the name is not fictitious: a chef with such name really existed and the product that he created, pasta in a can, still exists and continues to be a favorite with American kids and even outside the United States. The chefs name was Ettore Boiardi. He was born in Piacenza, in Northern Italy, in 1898. His family emigrated to the United States and landed in Ellis Island in 1914. Ettore began working with his brother in the kitchen of the Plaza hotel in New York. He quickly developed his cooking skills and became chef. In fact, he acquired such a reputation that he was called to prepare a dinner for President Wilson. At age 24, he moved to Cleveland where he opened his restaurant Il Giardino dItalia. He had grown a moustache in order not to appear too young and adopted the name Hector. His spaghetti with meat and tomato sauce quickly became popular to the point that many customers began to ask him for sauce to take home. Chef Hector poured the gravy into milk bottles and added pasta and cheese. From the bottles to the cans it was a fortunate transition. Hector contacted

a canning enterprise in Indiana, Vincennes Packing Company, and asked whether it could can pasta with his sauce. They told him that it could be done and Hector went ahead with the canned spaghetti. He thus became the first industrialist of canned pasta, and the cans featured him on the label, moustache and all. Only the name had changed. Hector had tired of pointing out the correct pronunciation of his name and decided to print it in a novel way, so that it would be easy to pronounce: Boyar-dee. In 1938 he decided to move his canning operations to Pennsylvania, to be closer to the tomato cultivations. He even went as far as producing mushrooms in his cellar. His canned pasta, especially his ravioli, reached a true economy of scale during World War II when they were distributed as rations for the troops. But true economic success came among the young and needy families that could buy food at low prices. In 1950 Boiardi caved in to the offer of a large company that bought him out for the remarkable figure, at that time, of 6 million dollars. The young cook from Piacenza had struck it rich in America. Not only that, he had become a media icon, by appearing in TV spots with his chef hat and the unmistakable moustache. He stayed on as a consultant until his death in 1985. The trademark Boy-ar-dee belongs today to a big food conglomerate, Con Agra Foods, producer and distributor of a wide array of foods, from all kinds of wheat to egg substi-

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tutes, canned tomatoes, Jewish sausages and frozen foods. These products are consumed in 97 per cent of American households. The canned pasta invented by Boiardi was a common staple on the table of the poor, particularly in the 1960s, and continues to be enjoyed by the new generations. Just look at the website www.chefboyardee.com to understand the kind of market that Boyardee reaches: youth. The types of canned pasta they like are the overstaffed meat ravioli, the sport forkables, the minibites, the microravioli, the dinosaurs in sauce, and the unfailing macaroni and cheese, probably the most popular food among American kids. The canned pasta, however, is no longer unique. For a few years it has been accompanied by pasta to be cooked in a microwave oven, known as taste microwavables. To this add the microravioli cup, the minibites, and assorted microcups. To top it all off there are pizza and dinner kits, with whole wheat to boot. Try it out: the website Boyardee is fun for all, creative and clever with its advertising for kids. A bit of advice: dont tell Americans that the Boyardee foods have low nutritive value. Their advantage is that they are shelf stable, that is they can stay longer on the shelves of supermarkets. And you can quickly

ACCADEMIA E-MAIL
The following e-mail addresses, conveniently arranged by office, are now available to facilitate communications: Office of the President presidente@accademia1953.it Office of the Secretary general segretariogenerale@accademia1953.it Headquarters Secretariat segreteria@accademia1953.it Magazine editorial office (Rome) redazione@accademia1953.it Giuseppe DellOsso National Library biblioteca@accademia1953.it The Accademia website is www.accademia1953.it Among other things one can view and download the last three issues of Civilt della Tavola (pdf files).

open a can and warm up the content. Ettore Boiardi understood all this perfectly well and, most importantly, he knew how to protect his invention. The same cannot be said about another chef, Alfredo, who became famous for his Roman fettuccine with plenty of butter and parmesan

cheese. He had his invention snatched away from him, with no copyright protection. The result was that the name Alfredo appears everywhere, entwined with pasta, rice, chicken, fish and all sort of food concoctions, another vile blow that damages Italian gastronomy.

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The Lemon Citrus of Pietrasanta


BY

MONICA COFONE

A unique citrus made by the grafting of two fruit trees.

he fascinating world of citrus can be traced back almost 4,000 years; they were cultivated in an area ranging from India to the Far East and spread to Greece around the 3rd Century BC and then on to Italy where they were introduced in the 2 nd Century BC. The oldest documented citrus are pomelo (a relative of grapefruit) and citron plants. Virgil was the first Latin writer to refer to citron as the apple tree of La Media, and to describe its characteristics, foliage and flowers. Because of its prevalence throughout the Arab world, the Crusaders were probably the first to introduce the bitter orange to Italy upon their return from Palestine in the 11th Century. According to Targioni Tozzetti, lemons and bitter oranges were first cultivated in Tuscany in the 1300s. There are many 15th and 16th Century descriptions of gardens and orchards referring to the importance of citrus in our region. There is an eloquent 16th Century description of the Square of the Orange Trees in Massa during the rule of the Malaspina family. As A. Tagliolini notes, there is a good deal of archaeological evidence: a system for channeling water and the design of the wall surrounding the garden of the La Rinchiostra Villa in the Massa plain. Traces of

trellises indicate citrus orchards within the walls of Pietrasanta. The orchards, which were well exposed and enjoyed an excellent micro-climate seemed to justify the tribute of 2,000 lemons and oranges that the feudal lord was required to pay to the Medici court at the beginning of the 16th Century. The earliest classification of citrus was done by G.B. Ferrari, who in 1646 in Rome published Hesperides sive de malorum aureorum cultura et usus in Rome in 1646. This volume was followed by J. Commelyns Nederlanntze Hesperides (1676) and Nurnbergische Hesperides (1708), Linnaeuss Species Plantarum, edited in 1753, G. Gallesios Trait du Citrus (1811), A. Risso and A. Poiteaus Histoir e Natur elle des Oranges (1818), and W.T. Swingle - The Citrus Industry (1948) by H.J. Webber which included a chapter on the taxonomy of the Citrus genus. Citrus plants belong to the Rutaceae family, a subspecies of the Aurantionoids. There are many genuses, among them Citrus, which includes the major species: C. limon, C. medica, C. paradisi, C. aurantium, C. sinensis, C. bergamia, and the numerous cultivars that exist for each species, particularly the Citrus genus: C. limonimedica, C. hystrix.

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The citron of Pietrasanta belongs to the Citrus limonimedica (lemon citrus) cultivar, which was introduced into the Medici gardens at the beginning of the 17th Century. According to the classification by Sienese Jesuit G. B. Ferrari, however, it actually originated in the countryside around Pietrasanta. In 1996 an international conference entitled The Gardens of the Hesperides: Citrus in History, Literature, and Art was organized by the Center for the Study of the Historic and Contemporary Gardens of Pietrasanta under the direction of A. Tagliolini. Speaker David Freedberg cited the G.B. Ferraris text describing the lemon citron of Pietrasanta: The Etruscan land around Pietrasanta, which borders on Liguria, generates the most delightful and sweetest of lemons, called cedrino (citron), which are a result of the grafting (so they say) of the citron plant, which for its perfume and simplicity is known as cedrato. Once transplanted, the land around Florence, the wet nurse of all lemons, produces two varieties worthy of the highest of praise. She calls one smooth because its skin is less rough, and the other rough because of its protruding bumps which are known as broncone in the local dialect because

they resemble rough and prickly branches. There has never been a fruit like it. It grows better around Florence than Rome, and sometimes achieves the shape and weight of a lime. Quite often it has an elongated and swollen shape, and it is narrower at the top. Sometimes it resembles a breast, with its nipple shaped tip, or can appear to be swollen like a uterus due to the unborn fruits within. The peel is tender and pale gold when mature, full of pointed depressions and spiky warts, shriveled from its wrinkles and sweet owing to its fragrant tips. It is pleasant to eat together with another fruit. The twofingers wide fleshy part is tender and sweet on the palate; the part covered by ten or eleven acidulous cellular membranes is truly succulent. It contains almost twenty seeds. The tree, which is of a delicate nature, cannot tolerate extreme heat or cold, and it can grow to a height of six cubits. It is stimulated by Spring to a persistent flowering, and is soon covered by a beautiful thick green foliage that is often curly. The same tree also produces a simple and abundant product that harbors one fruit inside of another, each of which can be separated from the other. And it is also true that in the farthest reaches of Etruria, the coun-

tryside near the city of Pietrasanta which is rendered extraordinarily fertile owing to the warm breezes from the nearby sea, produces citroned lemons that are almost always have other lemons inside. These often have blunter ends and are more conical than other lemons. Some of these, which can be divided into many segments, contain another lemon inside, and when it is split in half, beyond the golden skin and white flesh, reveals a whitish pith, and rarely, a third fruit curled up like an embryo. From the open incision in the innermost fruit one can even observe a compact brood of tiny lemons. Sometimes the uterus of the external fruit splits open spontaneously, producing other lemons that resemble entwined fetuses or conjoined newborns, bursting out rather than being born because they cannot emerge by themselves. It is recognized by everyone that this species of lemon exudes a more intense perfume than other lemons and that the internal fruit is softer and more delicate than the external. This description and the images that accompany it point to a unique plant with an intense perfume and multiple fruits nestled one inside the other, but like all beautiful things, it is extremely delicate.

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Molise Corn
BY ENZO NOCERA Academician, Campobasso Delegation F. Marenghi Research Center

The food of the poor in a study by Gioacchino Murat.

ntil a few centuries ago, pizza and greens were the only food of peasants, prepared each day. The ingredients of this dish are, even today, corn-based focaccia which in former times was cooked on the stone of the hearth and the greens were fried with oil and hot peppers; every once in a while tuna belly or pigs lard was added. The cultivation of corn or Indian wheat, as it was also called, began to spread throughout upper Molise around the first half of the eighteenth century, in approximately 1730, and then spread to Central Molise between 1800 and 1820, and even to the flatlands of lower Molise. In the well-known study by Murat at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the word used was to refer to corn was granone; it was so widespread in the Contado of Molise (which later became the Province of Campobasso in 1806) that it threatened and reduced the cultivation of wheat. The people preferred it to wheat for the sole reason that, creating a branny style of extremely coarse

bread, it took longer to digest and gave a greater feeling of being full. But this starchy plant did not provide much healthy nutrition because rather than being prepared well leavened and well cooked, it was eaten without being highly fermented, without salt, and often in the form of a focaccia barely warmed under the ashes. In fact, several towns of upper Molise and the northernmost area of Molise enjoyed healthy air because of their exposition and high altitude; their inhabitants should have had good coloring and personal vigor; instead they appeared to be cachetic, pale, indolent and weak and often suffered from pellagra because of their poor nutrition. In the past and in all seasons, the peasants had to manage both their wheat and corn in order to have enough to get through the day. Every day they had to balance lunch with dinner and it was a constant harsh struggle. Corn polenta was also used a great deal and was usually seasoned with oil in which garlic was fried; occasionally, they mixed in crushed walnuts, mosto cotto or some vinegar; those who could mix in salt, pepper and a few pieces of smoked pork fat were considered fortunate; to finish the meal, they might enjoy some cacio cheese. Almost everyone mixed in some capsico baccato (hot peppers). The shepherd in the mountains or along the cattle tracks prepared it with milk. In summertime, during the scogna, or threshing season, at mealtime there was the aroma of polenta rich with sausages and small pieces of bacon fried over low heat, prepared in a large soup pot where everyone

dug in with their spoons, numbed from working the chaff, to the sound of the crickets. Reading the Murat study teaches us that in these regions the custom and practice was to sit down for a meal twice a day, in addition to breakfast. Lunch was organized at noon and the evening meal, dinner, was eaten at dusk. The peasant ate three times a day during the winter and four or five times during the summer. In summertime, in addition to the afternoon meal, it was the custom to divide meals between two dry and two hot. And since one usually ate at the expense of others, the two dry meals consisted of good pork meat, either smoked or aged, a lot of cacio, enough bread to fill the belly, and copious amounts of wine. The hot meals were made with good meat, either boiled, roasted or prepared in a pan; the vegetables were seasoned with the broth of the meat and there were large quantities of bread and wine. During the winter, a meal was taken two hours after sunrise, at noon, and in the evening; the first two winter meals were dry and consisted of focaccia made of granone, accompanied by either a bit of cacio, or a little salt pork or salted fish, sardines, some slices of garlic, an onion, and according to the time period, radishes, rape seed, celery or fennel. In the evening vegetables were eaten, but always with focaccia made from corn mixed with wild or garden-grown herbs, depending on the peasants resources; or simple polenta from corn seasoned only with oil. Polenta, rich in sauces and flavors, was often the main dish and at times the only dish the peasants ate in the morning and it had to last them until their evening supper.

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Tasting a Museum
BY FRANCESCO RICCIARDI Academician Rome-Eur Delegation

A gastronomic guide in the heart of Milan.

any of our museums, some more than others, contain works of art that have as their theme food and the table. Gastronomy can represent a key to understanding an art collection, or be a guide to help visitors avoid getting lost in a multitude of unrelated and disparate works of art. And that is exactly what the Academy did several years ago when it released its traveling exhibit The Colors of Taste, which focused on the civilization of the good table in Neapolitan painting by analyzing works of art on display in the museums of that city. Now Skira publishers offers us a new volume to add to this trend: The Taste of Art - A Gastronomic Guide to the Museums of the Sforza Castle in Milan, a handy book by Andrea Perin and Francesca Tasso (Managing Conservator of the artistic collections of the Milan museum). It is small and

easy to consult (6 x 8, 96 pages, 16 euro) but significant in terms of its content. The guide was developed to help visitors to the Sforza Castle museums appreciate not only the formal value of the works there, but also their gastronomic significance (Alessandro Magnascos Merchant of Verziere appears on cover of this issue.) Many Academicians will recall that the Sforza Castle hosted another great exhibit in 2003, organized by the Accademia Italiana della Cucina to commemorate its 50th anniversary. Art and History at the Table was an original interpretation of two centuries of history through the evolution of the food lists, and included many valuable menus on display for the first time. We know that art and cuisine have often shared a close bond throughout the course of history. Jewelers, ce-

BARTOLOMEO STEFANIS PUMPKIN SOUP


One of the recipes in the guide is for this pumpkin soup described by Bartolomeo Stefani in The Art of Cooking Well (Mantua 1662, p. 28): Take the pumpkin cooked in broth, so that it is tastier, and pass it through a sieve; take six ounces of almonds pounded in a mortar, dilute it with a glass of milk strained through gauze. Put the pumpkin in the oven with fatted capon broth. When the pumpkin is almost cooked, add four egg yolks and the juice of four oranges; it will be delicious. In short, the ingredients are: a quart of chicken broth, 4.5 oz. peeled almonds, 1.3 lbs. pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cleaned, 1/2 cup milk, 2 oranges, 2 egg yolks, beaten. Preparation: cut the pumpkin/squash into pieces and add them to the boiling broth. Once cooked tender, puree them together with the beaten egg yolks. Add the almonds, which have been mashed with a mortar and pestle, diluting them with a bit of milk. When the soup is ready, add the juice of two oranges.

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ramicists, glass blowers have worked to create some of the most opulent dining services; often artists and cooks worked on similar projects, for years interpreting the banquet as a grand dramatic stage set in which food and tableware converged in the creation of a single and complete (though ephemeral) system. Have we not established that cuisine itself can be considered an art? And dont various types of art, within

the framework of their time, share the same cultural substratum? And finally, is it not true that figurative art constitutes an indispensable source as the Academy has amply shown in the preparation of its own exhibits for documenting nutritional habits and understanding what and how people eat? This guide constitutes the most recent contribution to the fascinating world of the relationship between

INTERNET, BLOGS, FACEBOOK AND THE ACCADEMIA WEBSITE


Recently some Delegations have expressed an interest in opening their own websites. In order to avoid content conflicts with the Accademia's official website, the Office of the President has expressly stated that this is not possible. The Office of the President would like to stipulate that online conversations among Academicians and/or Delegations in blogs and on platforms such as Facebook are permitted. However, in these cases the use of Accademia logo is not allowed, and content should not discuss or involve the Academys organizational activities.

figurative and culinary arts, and pairs several works on display at the Sforza Castle museums with a recipe from the appropriate era, region, and context. As one would expect, the juxtaposition succeeds in establishing relationships in both directions, from artworks to the cuisine, and vice-versa, with historical data intersecting with cultural ideas. These elements are all dealt with in this guide, despite its pocket-sized nature. Taking into consideration the cultivation of ingredients (fruits, vegetables etc.) and the many variations in their cooking that have occurred over the course of centuries, The Taste of Art presents the recipes in their original form and explains how they are prepared today. Thus this little guide evokes (while remaining faithful to the ancient flavors) the ingredients and modern instruments at our disposal. We hope that other Italian museums will follow suit on this intriguing and promising example of the Sforza Castles culinary-historic endeavor.

FRANCESCO RICCIARDI

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Futurism in Venice
BY LAURA

GHITTINO COURIR Venice Delegate

On the road opened by Marinetti.

ommemorating an historical event is always important, but when it is a centennial and the event happened in your OWN CITY, it is a must. And this is what the Delegation from Venice did. The protagonists were Futurism and the Clock Tower. On July 8, 1910 a multitude of leaflets (800,000) flew from the tower in Piazza San Marco - a long list of accusations and provocations against Venice and its inhabitants. Just the year before, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti had founded the Futurist movement, its members selected from among the most famous intellectuals; painters, writers, musicians, actors, dancers, and, finally, in 1930, chefs). On December 28, 1909 Marinetti published the Futurist manifesto and signed it himself in a Turin newspaper, the Gazzetta del Popolo. The foundersintent is well known: rejection of styles of the past, embracing new more dynamic life styles, and injecting the future with a certain lan vital. In fact, the leaflets thrown at the passers-by, (actually, more specifically on the crowd returning from the Lido) contained only a summary of the complete manifesto, which was read by Delegate Laura Ghittino Courir. Here are a few of the most significant ideas: We repudiate ancient Venice, exhausted and flabby from its centuries-old de-

votion to sensual pleasures, which even we ourselves used to love We want to heal and cure this city, magnificent sore of the past Lets burn the gondolas, those rocking armchairs Lets free Venice from its money-grubbing moonlight. Even Italian cuisine did not escape from Marinettis ferocious criticism. The least unwelcome was probably his critique of pasta, described as a ball that Italians have chained to their stomachs, convicts serving life sentences. He of course preferred rice. He liked to combine his dishes with others that were unusual, uncommon. It cannot be denied that he had a wild and creative imagination, with risky, and yet well chosen names and definitions. Such a fertile imagination would give birth to new currents in all the arts. Traditional cuisine in the typical Italian family was, one might say, subdued - based on local products and little imagination. The new ideas would give birth to the culinary arts, allowing the more famous chefs to create dishes that would satisfy the still uncontaminated palates of millions of people in Italy and abroad. Cuisine made its grand entrance alongside the other arts. The Delegation from Venice decided to celebrate the event with a dinner featuring dishes of that time and recalling in particular the aerobanquet which took place in Bologna in 1931. The ideal location for this convivial meal was the Taverna La Fenice, an historic establishment opened as a wine bar in 1894, which, over time became one of the favorite meeting places for the most important personalities in the world of culture and high society. DAnnunzio, a regular patron, gave it its current name in 1910 and it seemed appropriate to re-

turn there to celebrate this double centennial. Its owner, Giovanni Trevisan reserved a room, and willingly collaborated on the creation of the menu with his chef Andrea Bondesan. A series of tastings were served in colorful little bowls made of different plastic forms; at the time, plastic was a new material, and the food was called simultaneous and changing morsels; new, wonderful tastes: creamed dried salt cod on a layer of polenta with cuttlefish ink, gigantic beans with crystallized droplets of vinegar, melon mousse with bacon squares, absolutely delicious. Everything was accompanied with a glass of Ribolla Gialla Spumante Livon. At the table, after the brisk reading of the Manifesto, rice was served -obviously - and it came in two versions: green rice with a cream of peas, pistachios and spinach, and risotto r ombi dascesa, a risotto with caramelized orange peel. Then carne plastico (plastic meat), a dish prepared a bit oddly: veal meatballs with two types of vegetables forming the eleven letters in F.T. Marinettis name, served fried and sprinkled with honey. Lastly, steel spheres - ice cream with transparent mint balls. The other wines were excellent: Soave Monte Carbonara 2009 Suavia; Palazzo della Torre 2007 Allegrini, and Recioto di Soave Passito Capitelli Anselmi. During the dinner, which could not have been more stimulating and satisfying, the Academicians exchanged small cards with thoughts written on them, as the futurists loved to do. Among the more amusing ones: Tra una risata e laltra, (between one laugh/risotto and another) and La cucina evoluzione, evviva il futurismo (cooking is evolution, so, long live futurism).

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