The First Italian Foodie
A Guest Blog by Mama Margaret Cowan
The picturesque medieval Italian town of Forlimpopoli in northern Italy has become a mecca for food lovers from all over the world. Carrying their well-worn copies of Italy’s most famous cookbook, Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and The Art of Eating Well, first published in 1891, they immerse themselves in all things Artusi.
The Jamie Oliver of his time, Artusi created a cookbook that has become an international icon -– the first cookbook written in Italian, with each tasty, easy-to- make recipe reflecting his love of good food, and a testament to his belief in the role of food in the art of living well. He is credited with establishing a national cuisine and even with unifying the country.
Some 120 years later my colleagues and I at Mama Margaret & Friends Cooking Adventures in Italy are offering a specially designed immersion into the world of Pellegrino Artusi. From June 17-22, we will visit Casa Artusi, a former convent where participants will learn to cook Artusi-style dishes in the state-of-the-art cooking school, visit the Artusi museum to learn about his unusual life, and dine in the elegant restaurant where one reviewer said he ate “some of the best food available to mankind.”
At the festival, Festa Artusiana, in Forlimpopoli’s piazza and streets, they’ll taste local foods and wines. In Bologna’s colorful food market (above), they’ll stroll with a mother and shop for ingredients for their Artusi cooking class in her home. With the fun-loving father, they will see how parmesan cheese is made from start to finish. At traditional balsamic vinegar cellars near Modena, they’ll sample twenty-five-year-old traditional balsamic vinegar, which feels like liquid velvet in your throat.
It’s always a family affair with Mama Margaret & Friends -- lots of real Italian experiences with local people off the tourist track while learning the art of eating well. It worked for Pellegrino Artusi, who lived to be 91. Click here for more information.
Words and Expressions
cucina casalinga –- home (literally housewife) cooking
alta cucina -- haute cuisine
alla maniera dell’Artusi -- in the manner of Artusi
essere /diventare un mago in cucina -- to be / become a magician (whiz) in the kitchen
avere un palato fine -- to have a refined palate
Dianne Hales is the author of LA BELLA LINGUA: My Love Affair with Italian, the World’s Most Enchanting Language.