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Delizia!: The Epic History of the Italians and Their Food
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Delizia!: The Epic History of the Italians and Their Food

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  277 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Buon appetito! Everyone loves Italian food. But how did the Italians come to eat so well?

The answer lies amid the vibrant beauty of Italy's historic cities. For a thousand years, they have been magnets for everything that makes for great eating: ingredients, talent, money, and power. Italian food is city food.

From the bustle of medieval Milan's marketplace to the banqu
ebook, 288 pages
Published January 8th 2008 by Atria Books (first published 2007)
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Carlos Bazzano
¿Quién nunca ha probado un buen plato de comida italiana (entendido esto como que las pastas no son el único tipo de comida italiana)? ¿Un plato de spaghetti alla carbonara, de fetuccini alfredo, una rica focaccia o un simple pan con mortadella? ¿Quién alguna vez ha envidiado a Garfield y su impresionante capacidad para engullir una deliciosa lasagna? ¿O bien una increíble pizza? ¿O incluso platos más finos y elaborados como unos buenos tortellini de salmón rosado? Yo lo he experimentado todas e ...more
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: food geeks , history geeks, italophiles, travel buffs
This was a lot more interesting than it might seem. I actually couldn't put it down. Fascinating and well written account of history and Italian cuisine. This isn't a cook book more of an overview and a history book. If you are a history geek , a food geek and/or a bit of both, you might get into this. I did. 5 stars and best reads pile.
Mariano Hortal
Publicado en

¡Delizia! La historia épica de la comida italiana de John Dickie. Construir la identidad a través del disgusto

Siempre he pensado que, en un ensayo, sea del tipo que sea, los primeros capítulos son imprescindibles para conseguir atraer el interés sobre lo que te quieran contar. La introducción del propio autor, John Dickie, a ¡Delizia! La historia épica de la comida italiana es tremendamente clarificadora sobre lo que nos vamos a encontrar y cu
Berna Labourdette
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una entretenídisima historia sobre el origen de lo que entendemos como cocina italiana desde la Edad Media hasta el presente (que por supuesto es un invento moderno como casi todo). Hay muchísima información que jamás se hace pesada y que Dickie además relaciona con otros eventos históricos (la formación de las primeras mafias, con los lazzari, la llegada de la papa y el tomate desde América y por supuesto, la interrelación con el Vaticano y los Papas). MUY interesante. 
Dec 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I might not have enjoyed this book as much as I did if I hadn't read the majority of it on Trenitalia. I thought Dickie presented a great set of case studies that seemed well-sourced and thoroughly researched. Reading this book even helped me learn more about Italian history and helped me provide know-it-all anecdotes to my husband about his soup choice ("ribollita") at one of our dinners in Rome.
Jul 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Or "Everything you think you know about Italian food is wrong".
Exhaustively researched, full of fascinating anecdotes, and at least as much history and sociology as cuisine. Learn about the Renaissance's obssession with sugar and spice, how the Arabs invented pasta, why northern Italians thought pizza would give them cholera, and how many "traditional, authentic" Italian foods are relatively recent (i.e. 20th century) inventions.
Stephen Conti
Jan 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dean
anyone who has ever eaten a slice of pizza. NEEDS to read this book if just for anchovie stuffed tomato recipe.
Sebastian Reyn
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dickie, John, Delizia! The Epic History of the Italians and their Food (Sceptre: 2007). Boeiend historisch vertoog over de ontwikkeling van de Italiaanse gastronomie in zijn maatschappelijke en historische context. Dickie ontzenuwt de mythe dat de Italiaanse keuken van oudsher een plattelandskeuken is. De Italiaanse gastronomie is juist onverbrekelijk verbonden met die van de steden en veel "tradities" gaan geen "eeuwen terug". Bovendien valt tot diep in de negentiende eeuw nog nauwelijks van de ...more
Tracy Terry
Jan 18, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
More than just a book about cuisine. Delizia! covers the origins of food as the author takes us on a journey that examines the cultural, economical, historical, political and social considerations that shaped the various Italian region's dining experiences over the centuries from 12th century Palermo to 21st century Turin by way of amongst other places 20th century Milan and Genoa.

More than just about pizza and Spag Bog (AKA Spaghetti Bolegnase), Delizia! expels so many myths, concentrating on '
Fred Setterberg
Jun 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This volume is stuffed, so to speak, with trivia in regards to the edible, a history of munching aligned with the big events on The Boot: medieval cookery, Popes and Cardinals gluttonizing, Fascists striving to swerve the national character towards abstemious stoicism and fortunately failing (Mussolini had secretive chronic indigestion, a rumbling in his big balloon of a belly). The twining of event and foodstuffs doesn’t quite work, but the larger thesis is helpful: Italian food isn’t a rural c ...more
Daniel Etherington
An excellent piece of writing, essential reading for anyone who's interested in the (post-Roman) history of the Italian peninsula, the history of the region's food, the creation of the nation of Italy, and the creation of the so-called "traditional", "authentic", "genuine" Italian food experience of today.

It's packed with fascinating stuff, dispels many myths (about the use of spices in Europoean, and specifically Italian food - it wasn't about hiding the taste of bad meat, it was more about st
Dec 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More history than food, or better, history through food, and very interesting as such. Chapters 2-4, on the ancient and medieval periods, are weak, and his “revelations” in those chapters are trite, superficial, and rather annoying--even though I am no admirer of the Middle Ages. This is obviously not Dickie’s period, and the book would have been better without this section.
But the rest is excellent, and the revelations real and fascinating. A major point is that, even leaving aside New World i
Jul 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book shows in a very detailed way how italian cuisine has been inspired by city life, bourgeoise, clergy through the ages, as much as it was inspired by "the people" surviving on imagination during famine eras and , how it evolved from some "sweet and sour mix-it-all and cover the taste with sugar and spices" concept to something closer to what it is today - and in this manner inspired by the french - letting each ingredient express its own singular taste...
The construction of the recent con
Sep 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whew! This book is dense but so absorbing. Up to 1846 now... the lavish excesses of a stream of popes has retreated and the use of exotic imported spices has declined. But now French influence in cuisine becomes prominent in Italian upper circles, and European politics (wars and marriages) continue to be a tangled mess. Meanwhile, the vast majority of common folk are forging an identity around their food, based on the products that are grown/marketed locally and enjoyed, and are for the most par ...more
Jan 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm traveling to Italy for the first time this summer, so naturally I'm very interested in learning about their culture - especially their food culture. Overall, the book read very smoothly, which is not always the case with non-fiction. And the information and history included was definitely interesting and informative.

However, I got the feeling there was a lot of history missing. While the stories Dickie told of maccheroni and tortellini were well told, I found myself wishing he would've expa
Jan 01, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would actually give this 3.5 stars if I could. It was a fascinating look into where what we call "Italian food" came from--how it wasn't always what Italians ate, the history of fine eating over the centuries, and the gradual formation of a national cuisine that looks nostalgically back to a perfect, rural Italy that never existed. I bet you have never thought about how prestigious national cuisines such as Italian and French are created things. There is nothing natural linking Italians to pas ...more
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gastronomia, ensayo
Interesante recorrido por la gastronomía e historia de Italia, descubriendo cómo los spaghettis fueron introducidos por los árabes en Sicilia; la transformación de la pasta en un plato de masas en Nápoles en el siglo XVIII; las dificultades que tuvo la pizza para ser aceptada; el origen de la pizza margarita; lo tardío de la salsa de tomate; curiosidades sobre los tortellini, el pesto o la mortadela; y un largo etcétera enriquecedor y que despierta el apetito.
Oct 10, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This epic history is more a political history than gastronomic history. It reads in a similar fashion to The History of Salt - rich in political machinations and posturing and less about the development of recipes that are keystones and evocative of culture. The chapter on Sophia Loren is well worth reading - a deeper exploration of the place women occupied in changing the landscape of food culture would have been very appreciated.
Somewhat difficult to get in to, but really a fabulous history of Italian food. It proved incredibly accurate and authentic, as I read it while traveling around Italy myself. You have to have a dictionary close at hand at all times though, because Dickie tries really hard to pack in as many long, obscure words as possible.
Barbara VA
Not my favorite food memoir. Maybe it trues to take on too much, it never became exciting or made me want to try anything tht was described, In fact, I spent a lot of time being revolted, and I am a great Italian cook! I was fascinted by the DOCG descriptions but I wanted so much more - like Oil, wine, hwere did Buscotti come from and gelato - an art form in Florence!
Apr 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the approach on a people and their food. Incredibly detailed and full of interesting facts.

"To the Italian palate, the British way of eating is a cornucopia of horrors. The gastronomic culture clash begins at breakfast: frying anything so early in the day is enough to make most Italians stomachs turn."
Oct 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food
History, geography, food, more food, excellent, well researched authoritative writing, delightful flow, more food, tons and tons of Italy. The best book about food I've eve read. Strongly recommend to anyone who enjoys eating.
Oct 05, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Maddy by: Marya
A really good read, and interesting history, with the 'close glimpses at times and places" rather than big generalizations. It does make me want to eat my way through Italy one day! which is perhaps why my sister sent it as a gift? :)
Sep 16, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food
eh. even in anticipation of a trip to Tuscany, I just couldn't get into this book. I skim-read some and now it's just time to return it to the library.
Nov 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food, italy
Delicious tour through the history of cooking in Italy's various regions and cities. Highly recommended.
Ekaterina Ilina
Sep 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
made some aspects of Italian cuisine I'd been foggy on much clearer. And it made me hungry.
Jun 08, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
You can easily argue that Italian food was shaped by urbanites and nobility when your scholarship scoffs at women and peasants
Hisjtory of Italian food ; it was not always this way
Something about his attitude, or writing style, or something, just annoyed me so much I couldn't get into this.
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