Food, Culture, and Nutrition in Italy

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Food, Culture, and Nutrition in Italy

E33.2208.099 (6 points): International Study in Food and Nutrition

Sunday, May 24 to June 13, 2009

Villa la Pietra, Florence


Lisa Sasson

Department of Nutrition and Food Studies

Phone (212) 998-5585

Cell in Italy: 338 291 2286

From US: 011 39 338 291 2286
Course Description and Objectives:
During our three weeks in Italy we will examine food and nutrition from historical, political, economic, cultural, and culinary perspectives. We’ll start with a general introduction to Italy and Italian food and wine with an emphasis on regionality. We’ll proceed to contemporary issues, such as the Mediterranean diet, public health, food production and distribution, and Italy’s role in the global food economy. Specific food products, both artisanal and mass-produced, will be tasted and discussed. We’ll drink and discuss wine while we investigate its privileged status in the Italian diet and culture. We’ll visit wineries, food producers, factories, farms, and other places of interest for foodies and nutritionists. We’ll travel within Tuscany and to other regions, namely Latium (Rome) and Emilia Romagna (Bologna and Parma), to see first hand how regional the food culture can be. The goal is to use Italy as a case study, in order to both experience a separate and distinct food and nutrition culture, and to provide a window of understanding into our own.
Class participation, readings, and a final project will be required. Group field trips and some meals are included. For optional meals and other optional experiences in the syllabus you are on your own.

REQUIRED READINGS (bring them with you to Italy)

To read before you go:
Helstosky, Carole F. Garlic and Oil: Food and Politics in Italy. New York: Berg, 2004.
Counihan, Carole M. Around the Tuscan Table: Food, Family, and Gender in Twentieth-Century Florence. New York: Routledge, 2004.
For class preparation in Italy:
A bound reading packet will be available at Unique Copy. The readings will also be available in the department on a reserve, 2-hour sign-out basis.
The Bicycle Thief, directed by Vitorio de Sica (1948)
I Vitelloni, directed by Frederico Fellini (1953)
RECOMMENDED READINGS on Italy (not necessary to have them in Italy)

Barzini, Luigi. The Italians: A Full-Length Portrait Featuring their Manners and Morals. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996 (1964).

Capatti, Alberto and Massimo Montanari. Italian Cuisine: A Cultural History. Trans. Aine O’Healy. New York: Columbia U.P., 2003.
Hearder, Harry. Italy: A Short History. New York: Cambridge U.P., 2001.
Jones, Tobias. The Dark Heart of Italy: Travels through Time and Space across Italy. London: Faber and Faber, 2003.
Leavitt, David. Florence, A Delicate Case. New York: Bloomsbury, 2002.
Lewis, Norman. Naples ’44. London: Palace Athene, 2003.
Lewis, R.W.B. The City of Florence: Historical Vistas & Personal Sightings. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1995.
Parasecoli, Fabio. Food Culture in Italy. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2004.
Slow Food Editore. A World of Presidia: Food, Culture & Community. White River Jct. , VT: Chelsea Green, 2005.

RECOMMENDED BOOKS on Italian Food and Wine (for personal reference)

Anderson, Burton. Treasures of the Italian Table: Italy’s Celebrated Foods and the Artisans Who Make Them. New York: William Morrow, 1994.
Andrews, Colman. Flavors of the Riviera: Discovering Real Mediterranean Cooking. New York: Bantam, 1996.
Artusi, Pellegrino. Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well. Trans. Murtha Baca. Toronto: U. of Toronto P., 2004.
Bastianich, Joseph and David Lynch. Vino Italiano: The Regional Wines of Italy. New York: Clarkson Potter, 2002.
David, Elizabeth. Italian Food. London: Penguin, 1989 (1954).
Field, Carol. Celebrating Italy. New York: William Morrow, 1990.
Gray, Patience. Honey from a Weed: Fasting and Feasting in Tuscany, Catalonia, The Cyclades, and Apulia. New York: Harper & Row, 1987.
Jenkins, Nancy Harmon. Flavors of Tuscany: Traditional Recipes from the Tuscan Countryside. New York: Broadway, 1998.
Kaspar, Lynne Rosetto. The Splendid Table: Recipes from Emilia-Romagna, the Heartland of Northern Italian Food. New York: William Morrow, 1992.
Lanza, Anna Tasca. The Heart of Sicily: Recipes and Reminiscences of Regaleali, A Country Estate. Woodbury, CT: Ici La Press, 1993.
Negrin, Micol. Rustico: Regional Italian Country Cooking. New York: Clarkson Potter, 2002.
Plotkin, Fred. La Terra Fortunata: The Splendid Food and Wine of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. New York: Broadway, 2001.
Roden, Claudia. The Food of Italy, Region by Region. London: Vintage, 1999 (1989).
Root, Waverley. The Food of Italy. New York: Vintage, 1992 (1971).
Tornabene Wanda and Giovanna, with Carolyn Carreño. 100 Ways To Be Pasta: Perfect Pasta Recips from Gangivecchio (Sicily). New York: Knopf, 2005.
de Vita, Oretta Zanini. The Food of Rome and Lazio: History, Folklore, and Recipes. Trans. Maureen B. Fant. Rome: Alphabyte di Maureen Brown, 1994.
Sunday, May 24: Arrival Day

Check into Villa Natalia

5:30 p.m. Gather on terrace to take bus to dinner
7:00 p.m.

Welcome dinner of traditional Tuscan specialties at Hostaria del Bricco

(Via S. Niccoló 8r: 055/234-5037) Wear good walking shoes.
Monday, May 25: Orientation
[Villa Ulivi]

9:30 a.m.

Discuss projects and conference. Divide students into two groups. Explain dinner series with guest lecturers.
10:30 a.m. .A Brief History of Italian Food from Ancient Rome to the E.U.

Lecture by Ian d’Agata, Director, The International Wine Academy of Rome

12:30 p.m. Break for lunch
1:30 p.m. An Introduction to Italian Wine

Lecture and Tasting by Ian d’Agata

[Move to Villa Natalia?]

3:30 p.m.

Student registration
5:30 p.m. Orientation to La Pietra, dorms, and student life.
6:30 p.m. Welcome reception.
Guest lecturer dinner series.

Tuesday, May 26: Introductions

9:30 a.m. Lecture: A Brief Introduction to Food and Culture Studies

By Mitchell Davis
10:15 a.m. Lecture: A Brief Introduction to Nutrition & Mediterranean Diet

by Lisa Sasson

11:30 a.m. Lecture: A Tuscan Family

By Nancy Harmon Jenkins

1 p.m. Lunch Break
2:30 p.m. Lecture and Tasting: Olive Oil

By Nancy Harmon Jenkins

Guest lecturer dinner series.

Wednesday, May 27: Contemporary Italian Culture and Politics

10:00 a.m. Lecture: An Introduction to Contemporary Italy (Part I): Culture and Lifestyle

By David Travis (Academic Director, NYU La Pietra)
11:30 a.m. Lecture: An Introduction to Contemporary Italy (Part II): The Current Political Situation

By David Travis

2:00 p.m. Discussion about observation projects.
Afternoon Visa Appointments [to be confirmed]

Thursday, May 28: Field Trip to Tuscan Wine Country

9:00 a.m. Bus departure from outside Villa Natalia

10:30 a.m. Free time in the main square of Greve in Chianti (a Slow City). Don’t miss the historic Falorni butcher shop.
11:30 a.m. Verrazzano in Chianti

Tour of the winery and tasting led by Gino Rosi followed by lunch of local specialties.

4:30 p.m. Return to Florence

Friday, May 29: The World of Wine and La Pietra

10:30 a.m. Lecture: Italian Wine: Importing and Exporting

By Diletta Frescobaldi
1:00 p.m. Lecture: The Mediterranean Diet and Nutrition Counselling from the Perspective of an Italian Nutritionist

By Lucia Bacciotini

3 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Tour: Villa La Pietra: House and Garden

Tours divided by groups (I and II) led by La Pietra head gardener,
Nick Daiken Elliot and docent of the Acton art collection.

Meet outside the main entrance to the house.

Guest Lecturer Dinner Series

Saturday, May 30: The Neighborhood Market and Chocolate Shop

8:30 a.m.

Group I & II meet on Via dei Macci (outside Caffe Cibreo)
Group I will go to the Mercato Sant’Ambrogio

Group II meets at Bottega del Cioccolato

10:00 a.m.

Market tour: Group II meets at the Mercato

Group I meets at Bottega del Cioccolato
1:00 p.m. Market Lunch

Sunday, May 31: Free Day

Monday, June 1: Bologna

8:30 a.m. Bus departure for Bologna

Market, truffles search, biodynamic winery,
12:00 midnight return to Florence


Wednesday, June 3:
Free morning.
12 noon

Interim project review (Villa Natalia)

2 p.m. Visit to La Marzzocco espresso machine plant
6 p.m. Dinner on an urban Tuscan Farm [to be confirmed]

Thursday, June 4: Parma—Pasta, Prosciutto, Parmigiano, and More

7:00 a.m. [breakfast will be provided on the bus]

Bus departure (from Via Bolognese) Where close toed-shoes
10 a.m. arrival in Parma

Visit to a Parmigiano Reggiano producer

Visi to a Prosciutto di Parma producer

Typical Parmigiana Lunch

Tour of Barilla Pasta Factory
Tour of Academia Barilla
10 p.m. Return to Florence

Friday, June 5: Into the Kitchen

9:30 to 12:30 a.m.

Cooking Class: Regional Farinacea

Group I

Preparing pasta, risotto, gnudi, and other Italian “primi” or first courses.
1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Cooking Class: Regional Farinacea

Group II

Saturday, June 6: Rome

Meet at Florence Train Station (S. Maria Novella) at 8:00 a.m.

8:24 a.m.

Eurostar Italia train 9311

Leaves Firenze SMN 08:24 a.m. arrives
Roma Termini 10 a.m.
Check into Hotel 21
Afternoon and evening free

8:00 p.m.

Dinner at Bir & Fud.

Sunday, June 7: Rome

Meet at the International Academy of Wine (Vicolo del Bottino, 8, tel. 06/6990878, near Spanish Steps)
10:00 a.m.

Lecture: Food in Ancient Rome: Archaeology and Gastronomy

By Maureen Fant, Roman Food Expert, Archaeologist, and Historian

11:30 a.m.

Lecture: Carbohydrates, Obesity, and Italian Food Culture

By Dr. Vincenzo Bacci, Bariatric Surgery Specialist

Break for lunch

2:00 p.m.

Lecture: Childhood Obesity in Italy

By Dr. Maria Sole

Pediatric Nutritionist
3:30 p.m.

Lecture: Italy, Italian Food, and Globalization

By Fabio Parasecoli
5:00 p.m.

Tasting: The Wines of Latium

By Ian D’Agata
Evening Free

Monday, June 8: Cilento and the Mediterranean Diet

9:00 a.m. Meet at Rome Termini train station

Catch the 9:27 a.m. train (IC 589) to Salerno (arrives 12:28 p.m.)

Meet the bus to take us around Salerno to Cilento

Tuesday, June 9: Salerno

Ancel Keyes Museum of the Mediterranean Diet (in Piopi)

Visit to a producer of Mozzarella di Bufala

Visit to a fish processing plant/cannery

Wednesday, June 10: Salerno

Meeting to discuss conference

Morning in Salerno
3:15 p.m. meet at Salerno Train Station

Take 3:44 p.m. IC train 720 to Naples, change to train ES 9450 to Florence (arrive 8:09 p.m.)

Thursday, June 11:

Free day to work on projects

Friday, June 12:

8:45 a.m.

The First Annual La Pietra Student Conference on the Mediterranean Diet
7:30 p.m. (optional)

Farewell dinner at Lantini

Saturday, June 13: Departure

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