Food Others

Italian food: an object of desire – A conversation with Cinzia Di Vasta

An overview of the changes in recipes, food preferences and of the many routes that made Italian food what it is today.

About this event

Why do Italians eat what they eat? How does food reflects the culture of a nation? Is there even a concept of ‘National cuisine’ in Italy? How much did religion influence food and meals throughout the centuries? What contamination is evident in Italian regional cuisine? How can food have different uses and meaning for different people within the Mediterranean basin through the course of centuries? 

A discovery of the the many routes that made Italian food what it is today, tracing recipes and ingredients as they became available to the inhabitants of the Italian peninsula, throughout centuries of migrations and culture-crossing.

Cinzia Di Vasta was born in Naples and holds a degree in Modern Languages and Literatures from the Oriental Institute of Naples. She has always been interested in applied linguistics, although her career spanned between administrative and technical roles, both for the American, and Italian governments. Straddling two cultures, she has always tried to promote integration by striving to understand and make people understand the most evident, but also the most veiled, diversities. 

Among her many interests, cooking played an essential role. Over the years, however, she has developed her personal research towards the origin of traditional recipes to expand it by exploring the trails of ingredients in history, how they entered into traditional recipes of her heritage, and the intricacies of food, culture and external conditioning. In a word, she moved from being a soup-nazi to a supporter of a balanced diet, alternating a role of fusion skeptic and locavore.