In 1891 Pellegrino Artusi published a recipe book called Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well which he would continue to work on for twenty years, with subsequent additions and amendments made with the help of his male and female readership. In part owing to the “inclusive” spirit of the work, the book was a huge publishing success in the twentieth century.
For the first time ever a single recipe book contained all the typical dishes of Italian local cuisine; just a few years after the birth of the Kingdom of Italy, Artusi’s was a deliberate political project designed to favour the country’s cohesion. The social aspect of the work was also important, mixing as it did the recipes of the affluent landed and middle class with those of the working populace, and it is one of the secrets of its success. Artusi drew on the most diverse sources from throughout Italy, in a survey of that ongoing exchange of theory and practice that has always characterized the history of Italian cooking. An exchange which in part was already commonplace and which would continue in the decades that followed, making the kitchen table a strategic locus of unification and of strong national identity.
Massimo Montanari teaches Medieval History and the History of Food at the University of Bologna, where he also directs the Masters in “History and Culture of Food”.
Name of the event: MASSIMO MONTANARI "FOOD: 1891: Pellegrino Artusi and the Unification in the kitchen"