Week of Italian Cuisine in the World 2019

“Food Education: The Culture of Taste” is the central theme of the Fourth Edition of the Week of Italian Cuisine in the World, with events taking place worldwide in November of 2019. On the occasion of the celebration of the Week of Italian Cuisine in the World at the UW-Madison, Prof. Simone Cinotto, a leading scholar of the history of Italian and Italian American foodways, will give a public lecture on the UW-Madison campus. For other events, visit https://frit.wisc.edu or contact Prof. Grazia Menechella gmeneche@wisc.edu


Prof. Simone Cinotto, University of Gastronomic Sciences, Pollenzo, Italy
“Do I Love Something That Doesn’t Exist?: Food and Place in Italian Food Culture”
Thursday, November 21, 2019 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Room 126, Memorial Library, 728 State St., Madison, WI 53706, University of Wisconsin-Madison


In his lecture, Prof. Cinotto will discuss the bond between food and place, which is felt very strongly in Italian culture. Italy boasts the record number of local specialty foods recognized by the European Union as DOP (Protected Denomination of Origin) and IGP (Protected Geographical Indication) products, and any Italian cookbook proliferates with recipes a la Milanese, Bolognese, Venetian- or Roman-style. Italians’ attachment to place, whether their hometown, region, or nation, is most strongly represented by their attachment to some food “of our own”—and the other way around. The Slow Food philosophy has gained global traction by supporting a farm-to-table food consumption inspired by, and based on, the protection and promotion of Italian farmers’ traditional local knowledges and bio-cultural landscapes. Yet, by any account, Italian culinary culture is the product of exceptionally intense mobility and exchange, from the importance of American plants such as tomato, chili pepper, corn, and potato in defining it, to the role of the million cooks in the diaspora in creating a previously non-existent, and now globally-revered, Italian Cuisine, to the recent immigrants from the world’s South providing most of the labor in Italian farms, processing plants, street markets, and restaurants. What are the political, social, and cultural origins and consequences of this paradox?

Prof. Simone Cinotto is Associate Professor of Modern History at the Università di Scienze Gastronomiche in Pollenzo, Italy, where he is the Director of the master’s program “Master of Gastronomy: World Food Cultures and Mobility.” He has been Visiting Professor at Indiana University (2017), the Department of Italian Studies at New York University (2008-2010), and the School of Oriental and African Studies at University of London (2015-2019). He has also been Visiting Scholar at the Center for European and Mediterranean Studies at NYU (2013-2015) and Fellow of the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America at Columbia University (2004). Cinotto is the author of The Italian American Table: Food, Family, and Community in New York City (University of Illinois Press, 2013) and Soft Soil Black Grapes: The Birth of Italian Winemaking in California (New York University Press, 2012); the editor of Making Italian America: Consumer Culture and the Production of Ethnic Identities (Fordham University Press, 2014), which won the 2015 John G. Cawelti Award for the Best Textbook/Primer of the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association; and the coeditor, with Hasia Diner, of Global Jewish Foodways: A History (University of Nebraska Press, 2018). Cinotto has three books in preparation: Cibo: A Modern History of Italian Food (Oxford University Press); The Puerto Ricans and Italians of New York: Migration and Mobilization in the Atlantic World; and Transatlantic Emotions: The Mental and Intimate Biography of an Italian Immigrant to America, 1905-1942. Cinotto is the Co-Editor of Gastronomica and on the editorial board of Food, Culture, and Society and Global Food History among other journals and book series. He organized a joint conference with NYU and the University of Toronto titled “Food Mobilities: Making World Cuisines” (Pollenzo, Italy, June 5-9, 2019), which will also develop into a book.

Sponsored by the Center for European Studies, Department of French and Italian, Food Studies Network at UW-Madison, and the Italian Cultural Institute in Chicago. The event is free and open to all. For more information, contact: Prof. Grazia Menechella gmeneche@wisc.edu