The Food We Eat

“You are what you eat,” according to the old saying – the idea being that you can stay fit and healthy by eating right. But there is more to food than just having a balanced diet. A great part of who we are – our cultural identity – is determined by the food we prepare and consume, and the way we consume it.

Italy has an ancient and varied culinary tradition – sophisticated, and appreciated the world over. Countless Italian food words are incorporated into foreign languages – from pasta, pizza and spaghetti to cappuccino, cannoli and tiramisù.

In this complex world of “fast food, slow food, organic food, comfort food” – so much about being Italian revolves around the rituals of food preparation and consumption. What better time than the harvest season to ponder some of the tales, customs, and practices that make Italian cooking so stirring (pardon the pun!) and so unique.

Guest editor Giulia De Gasperi introduces the Eating Italian section with her own take on “comfort food” and how she adapted to a new environment. John and Constance deRoche take readers on a sumptuous culinary tour of Sicily, while Laura Sanchini and Luciano Pradal share a personal account of their efforts to carry on traditions surrounding winemaking and chestnuts respectively. Loretta Gatto-White relates her dislike for zucchini and Maria L. Ierfino conveys her affection for cicoria – humorously and subtly. To close off the section, we could not help but reprint Elizabeth Cinello’s wryly humourous “Food Companion Wanted” (the winning story in the 2010 Accenti Writing Contest) – the story of Alberto, a widower in desperate search of someone to cook his meals so that he could eat again. As we learn from this tale, the pleasure of Italian food is not only in the eating, but in planning and preparation, as well.

Also in this issue, Terri Favro introduces three Italian films featured at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Darlene Madott describes the ups and downs (literally) of a mother and son cycling in Sardegna, and Gianna Patriarca reminisces on an Italy that was, and what it is becoming. Robert Savelli has the last word with a contemplative log of his travels through Puglia with his son.

“The Anthropology of Fire” by Eufemia Fantetti (see page 24) was the runner-up in the 2012 Accenti Writing Contest, and Charles Criminisi (featured on page 36) captures an Italian moment with his photo “Rainbow over the Adriatic.”

Now is a good time to take another look at all those photos you took this summer. One of them might capture an Italian moment, and possibly win you $1000 and publication in a future issue of AccentiAccenti Online, as well as the Accenti Calendar. But act quickly, the deadline for this year’s “Capture an Italian Moment” Photo Competition is coming up fast: October 31! Take a peek at some of last year’s winning photos and the 2013 Accenti Calendar at

Licia Canton

First published in Accenti Magazine, Issue 27.

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