Your Guide to Italian Cuisine in New York, USA and Everything It Has To Offer
What Is the History of Italian Cuisine?
Psychologist Roland Barthes stated that food shapes our identities, cultures, and societies. The things we consume as well as how we acquire and prepare them is a clear indicator of our way of life. Furthermore, the people we enjoy our meals with reflect how our community values family and friendship.
Learning about a particular area's dining habits and food selections helps us get a better grasp of their people's backgrounds. At Fresh Fin Gourmet, we can help you learn more about other cultures by serving high-quality Italian cuisine in New York, USA. We offer various products, including panelles, pizzettes, arancine, cassatelles, and more.
What Is a Cuisine?
As defined by Britannica, a cuisine is the “the foods and methods of preparation traditional to a region or population.” The three things that shape a cuisine include:
The temperature and moisture levels experienced by people heavily determine the raw materials that they can grow and cook with. For example, 90% of rice is produced and consumed in Asia because this grain is best planted in warm and sunny areas where rainfall is abundant. Since countries near the equator have hotter temperatures throughout the year in addition to high humidity and precipitation levels, their farmers are encouraged to grow crops that will flourish in a tropical climate.
An individuals’ level of commitment to their religion affects whether they adopt the dietary practices of their group. In Hinduism, their practitioners do not consume meat and eggs because they believe that these food items represent life. They also do not eat chickens and pigs since they consider these animals as scavengers. As a result, most Hindus are vegetarians, with a few allowing themselves to eat fish and specific dairy foods.
Lastly, the regulation of trade in delicacies and imported food items also determines a nation's cuisine. If people aren't exposed to specific ingredients that aren't native to their country, they wouldn't be influenced by other cultures. Since America had hundreds of migratory waves of people who arrived in the New World over time, American cuisine is commonly characterized as a melting pot of various cultures.
What Is the History of Italian Cuisine?
Food in Italy is more than a lifestyle. It can provide you with an insight into the history of Italian culture and society from the Roman Empire to the present times.
The Romans loved complex flavors and dishes that often required sophisticated and complex preparation techniques. The Empire fully embraced the flavors and ingredients of the lands it conquered, including spices from the Middle East, fish from the shores of Mediterranean, and cereals from the plains of North Africa.
Some of the more unique ingredients they used include ostrich meat, fish sauces, and roasted game. During this time, cooks would often use red wine, honey, and water when preparing meals.
During the Middle Ages, specific regions of Italy became Arabic colonies, which was why islanders started embracing their colonizers' exotic habits and tastes. Spices and dried fruit became common ingredients in most Italian dishes. Dried pasta was brought to Sicily by Arabs, and Italians had integrated it into their cuisine that regularly featured butter, beer, wine, and olive oil.
Additionally, since most Italians practiced Christianity, some followed a rigorous diet that monks enforced. Practitioners were only allowed bread and legumes, with cheese, eggs, and seasonal fruit occasionally allowed on some days. However, as the years passed, monasteries eventually abandoned such strict and ascetic regulations.
The Crusades introduced the idea of communicating with neighboring nations, which is how imported products began circulating in Italy. Good food became a symbol of social and economic status. People went the extra mile to create flamboyant and grandeur dishes to enforce the idea that they are genuinely part of the bourgeoisie.
Specific products also influenced some of the dishes created during this time. Tomatoes, which were sent in from South America, became highly popular in Italy, and people started using this sweet yet tart red fruit as they created different pasta dishes.
17th to 19th Centuries
These centuries were some of the most exciting times for Italian cuisine. The most iconic food items that emerged during these times include tiramisu, pizza, pesto, and carbonara. Furthermore, art and food came together as never before, and people started appreciating the beauty of food just as one would a piece of art.
20th Century to Present Times
Due to World War II, families were forced to make do with what they had. A large chunk of the population experienced poverty, so they were forced to become innovative. People developed dishes that required minimal ingredients since some items were rationed, including coffee, sugar, salt, and butter. Furthermore, recipes were adapted to minimize waste and maximize the utilization of the things they had.
As years passed, the war eventually ended, and Italy’s economy slowly started improving. Fusion cuisine became popular, and people enjoyed dishes that combined elements of culinary traditions that originated from different countries. Chefs found a new appreciation for traditional foreign flavors and started enjoying food typically found in other continents.
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