Food for Thought

gI just posted below about the book I am currently reading, The Lost Ravioli Recipies of Hoboken. . I want to share a passage from the book that I found intriguing enough to mark the other night. Author Laura Schenone writes:

By 1920, nine million people – about one-quarter of Italy’s citizens – lived outside the country, writes historian Carol Helstosky in her book Garlic and Oil. Ironically, she argues, it was this exodus from Italy that finally helped create more abundance for all Italians. There was more food to go around for those who remained, and those abroad used their new wages to import the foods they desired but never could afford – dried pasta, olive oil, tomatoes, and cheeses from back home. This external demand provided the capital to help build the Italian mass-produced food industry, which ultimately helped create a stronger, wealthier Italy and a new concept of unified Italian cuisine based on tomatoes, pasta, parmigiano cheese, and pizza. It is an odd idea to imagine that immigrants had to leave home to eat the food of home. In this way, Italians around the world fueled an imagined culinary tradtion. It was what life “should have been,” writes Helstosky.