Cucina Povera, the food of the poor, is a recurring theme in regional Italian cooking. With the limited availability of meat as a source of protein, Italians relied on other viable sources to sustain themselves. With the burgeoning popularity of all things Italian, one sees a trend in making these recipes widespread in popular foodie culture. Vegetarian culture has also contributed to bringing this type of recipe to the forefront….
Every culture has symbolic rituals surrounding the beginning of a new year, each of which focus on good health and prosperity; Italians are no different. New Year’s Eve marks a special celebration for Italian families; whether referred to as La Festa di San Silvestro, Sera di Capo di Anno or simply Trent ‘Uno food is center stage. Family and friends gather round the table to recall the blessings of the past year while looking ahead optimistically. There are regional specialties typical of local areas, but most Italian celebrate with one important ingredient, lentils. The tiny round legumes symbolize coins and are sign of good fortune in the year to come; it is said that the more you eat, the richer you will become. More often than not, the lentil dish includes cotechino, a large sausage, or a zampone, stuffed pig’s trotter representing the richness of life in the coming year….
Ask any Italian American family about their Thanksgiving meal and I guarantee you that there is a pasta course. Yes, I realize that this sounds ludicrous given the abundance of food on the table Thanksgiving Day, but tradition prevails. As Italian immigrants assimilated having pasta was something that reminded them of their history as they whole heartedly embraced the traditions of their new home….