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When and how did classic “Italian” cuisine come to be?

When and how did classic “Italian” cuisine come to be?

Most people can recognize "Italian" food. Pasta, tomatoes, basil, etc. But many of the plants used in Italian food, didn't actually originate in Italy. Or even anywhere in the Old World. The tomato, for instance, is a South America plant that eventually migrated to Europe after contact. Likewise, another quintessentially Italian ingredient, Basil, originated in India.

So when and how did these plants become so quintessentially Italian? When and how did modern Italian food come into being?


Wikipedia has a pretty decent write-up with references.

Specifically to tomatoes, it says:

Significant changes occurred with the discovery of the New World with the introduction of items such as potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers and maize, now central to the cuisine but not introduced in quantity until the 18th century.

As far as not-in-quantity, the Wiki's source article states:

Another staple of Italian food is the tomato. It was introduced to Italy in 1522 by the Spanish, who ruled over the kingdom of Naples. They had picked up the tomato in Peru, where it was known by the Mayan word xtomatl. (Although if you ask Neapolitans, they'll tell you that Neapolitan sailors brought the tomato into port themselves.)


Basil (aka St. Joseph's Wart) - not sure how it came to Italy, but it spread from India a long long time ago and was known both to ancient Egyptians and Greeks of early Christian times, if not before; as well as Ancient Romans). However, Basil was thought to be unlucky, bad for you (I especially love the "scorpions in the brain" theory) and all-around evil till at least 17th century.


References:

  • "The Making of Italian Food… From the Beginning". Epicurean.com. Retrieved 2010-04-24.

  • Del Conte, Anna. The Concise Gastronomy of Italy. USA: Barnes and Nobles Books, 2004. ISBN 1-86205-662-5

  • http://www.ourherbgarden.com/herb-history/basil.html


tl:dr: Starting from the 19th century it took until after 1945 to form "modern classic Italian cuisne". These beginnings curiously coincide with the widespread adoption of tomatoes for pasta dishes. As a sauce ingredient, tomatoes gained popularity earlier. Basil was only modestly popular compared to other herbs, but it was so indeed since it first came to Italy.


Italy only exists as a unified state since the middle of the 19th century. ("it is true that the problem of 'creating Italians' emerged after national unity had been achieved") The country is as the language starkly contrasted between North and South. And this is reflected in the kitchen systems. A 'national' cuisine did not came into being at first. Since the middle ages cookbooks with local or regional focus were written in Latin, then French and finally in vernacular Italian.

Keeping in mind that for upper classes 'Italian' cuisine was at the absolute forefront of culinary excellence in Europe, before a Medici bride entered the French court and initiated the advance of French cooking.

As such, the "Italian cuisine" or 'national cuisine' is late and deliberate construction, still not very well reflected in everyday life in Italy itself. Only at the regional level was the commonality of recipes observable to a greater extent. That would make a list of a few 'cuisines': mainly Liguria, Lombardy, Venice, Tuscany, Emilia and Romagna, Rome, Naples, and Sicily.

The History of the pizza would be one example: Until the beginning of the 20th century, pizza and pizzerias remain a purely Neapolitan phenomenon, and only gradually Italian.

A question for a quintessential Italian dish may be answered with 'pasta with tomato sauce'. But thinking of "then it ust be slightly younger than the Columbian exchange" falls short of the actual integration of the fruit into that dish. It took until ~1820 that the olio and cheese variants had to share the spotlight with the tomato-dish. Although Neapolitan recipes generally still prefeer another variant for pasta with meat.

From this cerebral construct of 'national identity' as difference we observers note the following:

The “local” product, if consumed only at a local level, is devoid of geographical identity, since identity comes into play through a process of relocation, of “delocalization.” Mortadella from Bologna is called “Bologna” only when it leaves the city where it is produced. “Ascoli-style olives” (olive all'ascolana) assume this name when they travel beyond the borders of Ascoli, even if they are promptly shipped back there, bearing this name, in a kind of boomerang effect.

The 'typical Italian cuisine' and its history is now largely obscured through a century of marketing and re-branding via Italian immigrants, mainly to the US:

Italy's culinary heritage is usually asserted and recognized through references to city-based identities. This is evident not only in the names of elaborate recipes and food preparations that were devised in urban settings, in the workshops of culinary artisans or, more recently, in industrial establishments (Cremona relish and Neapolitan spaghetti, for example) but also in the names of products originating in the countryside, the mountains, and the sea. When we speak of Treviso chicory, Bitonto oil, Ravenna turbot, Messina swordfish, Sorrento walnuts, or the ewe's-milk cheese called pecorino romano, we are highlighting marketing centers rather than the areas where these foods are actually produced. It is understandable that the most successful “typical” products in the history of Italian food are those with the strongest industrial support (we have only to think of pasta, Parmesan cheese, and tomato sauce). These, in effect, are the products that travel best.

These late - and industrialised - additions to the culinary arsenal are so dominating the picture today that it seems complicated to unearth 'authentic' Italian recipes. Which of course, never existed in the first place, if we mean to understand 'never changing since the fall of Rome'.

Focusing back on the gift the Genoese brought back:

But unlike France, where Parisian cuisine competes with Provençal cooking, Italy, though gastronomically divided by regions, gains from its decentralized character and manages to sell pizza with tomatoes everywhere, popularized by emigrants of southern Italian origin.

The tomato, initially regarded as an ornamental fruit and later adopted as a food, was an exotic curiosity that first appears in the writings of P. A. Mattioli and José de Acosta, travelers and naturalists. Apart from these sources, allusions to its consumption are very rare. Costanzo Felici tells us, however, that the usual “gluttons and people greedy for new things” did not realize that they could eat the tomato as they would eat mushrooms or eggplants, fried in oil and flavored with salt and pepper. Although we must not exclude the possibility that tomatoes were consumed at an earlier date by the common people, it is only at the end of the seventeenth century that we observe their inclusion in elite cuisine, thanks to the Neapolitan recipe collection of Antonio Latini. Iberian influences may be detected in their adoption for culinary purposes, since various recipes that call for tomatoes are designated as “in the Spanish style.” Among these is a recipe for “tomato sauce,”41 which is flavored with onions and wild thyme “or piperna” and subsequently adjusted to taste by adding salt, oil, and vinegar. With a few modifications, this preparation was to enjoy a remarkable future in Italian cuisine and in the industry of preserved foods. The custom observed in ancient and medieval times, as well as during the Renaissance, of serving sauces as an accompaniment to “boiled foods or other dishes” - as Latini expresses it in this instance - facilitated the acceptance of the tomato by integrating it into an established gastronomic tradition. For the same reason, it gained widespread currency in Italian cooking in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Panunto in Tuscany, Vincenzo Corrado in Naples, and Francesco Leonardi in Rome all include it in their recipe books.

This integrative model proved far more successful in Italy compared to partial replacement that using potatoes would have required. The tubers were only acclimatised very slowly and erratically in the kitchen systems.

The appearance of new, cheaper, and more readily available vegetables - both fresh and preserved (in the case of potatoes and tomatoes) - on the dinner table all year long favored this revolution. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the tomato was the basis for a sauce used universally in restaurants both humble and grand as an accompaniment to meat and also as a sauce for pasta dishes. Its stable, moderately acidic taste and its bright red color, undiminished by the process of preservation, ensured its success, and it became an ingredient that appeared equally in the dishes of the poor, the middle class, and the aristocracy. The story of the potato was somewhat similar. Although it had a poor reputation in terms of flavor and consistency, it was nonetheless easily transported, manipulated, and combined with other foods. So the potato too became an ingredient that was used across Italy's social spectrum, though its cultivation was still unevenly distributed in the nineteenth century. Potatoes and tomatoes also raised the issue of territorial provenance, since they were ubiquitous and easily replanted and hence constituted culinary references that were not characteristic of a single place but could be considered universal.

For the spices, this is quite different. Medieval recipes from the peninsula are heavily dominated by marjoram and mint. And to a lesser extent by

basil, bay leaf, catnip, and, in Scappi's work, pimpernel and wild thyme.

Italian recipe collections reveal an acceptance of nature that was unparalleled elsewhere, since they feature even ingredients such as mushrooms and truffles, the sign of an intense exchange of knowledge between the world of the peasants and urban and aristocratic environments.

The great recipe collections of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries adopted and expanded this tradition. Cabbages, turnips, fennel, mushrooms, squash, let- tuce, parsley, and all sorts of herbs and legumes-such as broad beans and peas-are the basis of many preparations proposed by Maestro Martino (soups, torte, and fritters). Platina carefully offers detailed instructions on how to flavor lettuce, endives, oxtongue, moss rose, mallow, radishes, sassafras, pimpernel, and sorrel, as well as mixed salad:

A mixed salad is prepared with lettuce, oxtongue, mint, catnip, fennel, parsley, watercress, oregano, chervil, chicory, and dandelion greens (described by doctors as taraxacum and arnoglossa), wonderberry, fennel flowers, and various other aromatic herbs, well washed and drained. These are placed in a large dish and flavored with abundant salt. Oil is added, and vinegar sprinkled on top. The salad is then left to macerate for a short while. Because of the wild coarseness of the ingredients, one must be careful to chew thoroughly when eating.

In 1569 Costanzo Felici wrote: “Salad foods, according to those who live beyond the Alps, are almost exclusive to greedy Italians, who have appropriated the food of those base animals that eat raw greens.” His statement appears in a long letter to Ulisse Aldrovandi, titled De' insalata e piante che in qualunque modo vengono per cibo del'homo (On salads and plants that in some way become the food of men), which constitutes a genuine treatise on gastronomic botany. We find many other famous examples of this type of document-part scientific treatise and part cookbook - in Italy.

The use of basil as 'typical Italian preference' is strange from an Italian perspective and a result of outside observation? Whereas other herbs and spices may grow well in colder climates or travel well in dried form, dried basil is one example that is in practice a whole different herb compared to fresh.

Quotes from Alberto Capatti & Massimo Montanari: "Italian Cuisine. A Cultural History", ('La cucina Italiana: Storia di una cultura', transl Aine O'Healy), Arts and Traditions of the Table, Columbia University Press: New York, 2003.


Brief History of Russian Cuisine

Russia stretches from the White Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south, from the Baltic Sea in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east, neighboring many other countries. Russians speak Russian and share the same culture and traditions nationwide. An essential part of every nation is its cuisine. Ethnographers start studying every nation with its cuisine because it can reveal its history, everyday life and traditions. Russian Cuisine is no exception and is a very important part of Russia and its history.


In the fields they planted different grains like rye, oat, wheat, barley, buckwheat and others. They made grain porridges (каша) from it of different kinds. Porridge (каша) has always been a traditional national dish. Russians eat porridges throughout their lives: young kids eat manna-croup kasha, adults like buckwheat kasha.

As the Old Russian saying goes «Каша - матушка наша, а хлебец ржаной - отец наш родной» - (Porridge is our mother, bread is our father).

From the early times in Russia they used dough to make noodles(лапша), pelmeni (пельмени),vareniki (вареники), brown rye bread (черный ржаной хлеб) without which one cannot imagine the Russian cuisine. By the X century they got wheat grain and an assortment of pastry increased largely - they started baking karavai (каравай), kalach (калач), pies ( пироги), pancakes (блины), oladii (оладьи) and others.

In the 9th century the most common ingredients were turnip (репа), cabbage (капуста), radish (редька), peas (горох), cucumbers (огурцы). They were eaten raw, baked, steamed, salted, marinated. Potatoes did not appear until the 18th century, and tomatoes until the 19th century. Up until the beginning of the 19th there not hardly any salads. The first salads were prepared from a certain vegetable. That's why they got names like : cabbage salad (салат капустный), cucumber salad (салат огуречный) or potato salad ( картофельный). Later on the recipes became more complex and many salad were made from many different vegetables, sometimes with fish or meat, and they got more interesting names too: Spring (Весна), Health (Здоровье), Sea Gem (Морская жемчужина) and others.

Hot liquid dishes appeared from the early times as well: first fish soup (уха), shchi (щи), and later borsch (борщ), rassolnik - sour soup (рассольник), and then different sorts of Soyinka (солянка). In the XIX century these liquid dishes were named Soups (супы)

Among drinks popular were kvass (квас) and different wild berries' drinks. Spices (Пряности) were used extensively since the XI century. Russian and overseas merchants brought clove (гвоздика), cinnamon (корица), ginger (имбирь), coriander (кориандр), bay leaf (лавровый лист), black pepper (черный перец), olive oil (оливковое масло), lemons (лимоны) etc. Russia was trading with western countries and was a passing way to China.

Tea (Чай) was first brought to Russia in the XVII century. As for alcoholic drinks, in the Old Russia they drank low-alcohol drinks based on honey and berries. Vodka was first brought to Russia in XV century, and was immediately banned and did not appear until the reign of Ivan the Terrible in the middle of XVI century. At that time the first Tsar Bar was opened (Царский Трактир).

Russian cuisine was not only unique because of the ingredients they used but because the food was cooked in the Russian Stove (в русской печи). They baked bread in them, brewed kvass and beer, and on stoves they dried food. And they were generally used to heat houses and many people slept on them.

The food cooked in stoves was delicious because it was heated evenly from all sides. Russian stoves are no longer used these days, even in the countryside. They have been replaced by electric stoves and microwave ovens. In the old times the food of the elite class was no different from what the common people ate. By the XVII century the food of the elite became more sophisticated, differing not only in quantity but in the serving manner and ingredients.


Tsar feasts were very pompous and huge with a great variety of dishes. The number of dishes could reach 150-200,

The sizes of dishes increased, and the duration of the banquet. They normally started at lunch time and continued eating till late night.

XVIII century was a new era in the development of Russian society. Piter I not only transferred the capital to St. Petersburg closer to the Western Europe and changed the calendar, he changed many traditions. Russia was becoming more and more influenced by western European cuisine, first German and then Dutch and French.

The Russian aristocracy was hiring foreign chefs that totally replaced lady-cooks. The Russian cuisine got dishes like sandwiches (бутерброды), salads (салаты) and bouillon (бульон), and a choice of pan fried dishes (beefsteaks, entrecote, meat patties (котлеты), as well as sauces (соусы), желе (jellies), creams etc. Russian tratirs (трактиры) were replaced by restaurants with waiters and hosts. Most of this did not affect the common people.

Russian food was also diverse in different parts of the country because of the different climates and nature of those parts.


Food and The French Revolution

This physical hunger and the hunger for liberté, egalité, fraternité (liberty, equality, fraternity) were the impetus for the French Revolution. After the uprising, many cooks and servants, whose aristocrat employers had fled Paris or were executed, opened restaurants and made finer foods available to the common man. Now anyone could saunter into a tavern or restaurant, have a substantial meal, and be able to pay for it without robbing a bank.


Cuban Food Staples

Because of Cuba’s climate, tropical fruits and root vegetables (malanga, potatoes, boniatos, and yucca) are incorporated in many dishes. A number of dishes include seafood as it is readily abundant on the island. Other popular starchy foods are plantains, bananas, and rice. Tostones are flattened and fried green plantains, an African-inspired dish, and a remnant from the days of bondage on the island.

China’s influence was significant as they were the first to bring in rice. Rice is one of the biggest staple foods not just of Cuba, but of all Latin America. Rice was actually considered a rarity for many years, as it was not native to Cuba or Spain.

Some dishes you might recognize are moros y cristianos (mixed black beans and rice) and pollo en salsa (chicken in sauce). Also, a tortilla in Cuba is a simple egg omelet (as it is in Spain) it is not related in any way to a Mexican tortilla. Cubans love pizza, too. Some favorite toppings include ham, chorizo, and onion.

Chinese immigrants had yet another impact on Cuban food—la caja china, "the Chinese box." This contraption was derived from Cubans watching Chinese laborers in Havana's Chinatown cooking their meals on makeshift wooden boxes with fires that placed the heat at the top of the box. This efficient method left the traditional lechón asado (slow-roasted pork), soft and tender, which solidified the use of la caja china as a requisite at major Cuban festivities.


Origins and Historical Background

The word "sofrito" is Spanish and means to lightly fry something, such as by sauteing or stir-frying. It’s a technique that the Spanish colonists brought with them when they settled in the Caribbean and Latin America beginning in the late 1400s.

Sofrito is much older than that. The first known mention of the technique is referenced as "sofregit" in the “Libre de Sent Soví,” circa 1324. This cookbook from the Catalan region of Spain is one of the oldest in Europe, so it's safe to say that sofrito has been an ingredient and a technique in Catalan cuisine since medieval times.

We can also see a correlation to sofrito in the derivation of the Catalan word "sofregit," which comes from the verb sofrefir, which means to under-fry or fry lightly. The Catalan idea of frying lightly meant to fry slowly over a low flame.

The first sofregit was simply a confit of onions and/or leeks with bacon or salt pork added if they were available. Eventually, herbs and other vegetables were added to the mix. Tomatoes didn’t become a part of sofregit until Columbus brought them back from the Americas in the early 16th century. Today's Spanish sofrito includes tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, paprika, and olive oil.


A Brief History Of Cajun Cuisine

Cajun cuisine, known for its spicy notes and heartiness, is a style of cooking that developed in the Southern reaches of the US after Acadian immigrants fled Canada in the 18th century. Inspired by rural French cooking, Cajun cuisine was developed by a population that lived off the land, adapting over centuries of cultural influences and geographical changes.

The Acadians were the original French settlers in North America. Immigrating to Canada in the early 1600s (the present-day Maritime Provinces), they lived off what was readily available to them. The traditional peasant-style recipes of the French countryside – usually meat and vegetables cooked with a thick sauce in a single pot – were adapted to include what the Acadians could catch or gather from both the land and sea. But when they refused to pledge allegiance to the British Crown in 1755, more than 14,000 Acadians were deported, many of whom made their way to Louisiana.

Upon settling in the South, these French-Canadian farmers once again adapted their cuisine to the ingredients that were at hand in the Acadiana region. Their cuisine evolved to include crab, oysters, alligator, crawfish, shrimp, catfish, and redfish caught in the nearby Gulf of Mexico and waters of the bayou – rather than the lobster, salmon, and cod found in the North Atlantic. Potatoes were replaced with rice, which thrived in Louisiana’s hot, sticky climate, bell peppers took the place of carrots in the culinary basis for stews (the Holy Trinity), and new spices (black pepper, cayenne) were introduced. Influences from the Spanish, Native Americans, and African-Americans also played a key role in making Cajun cuisine what it is today.

So what does Cajun cuisine look like? Cajun dishes are still heavily rooted in seafood, preserving the Acadian lifestyle of using what the land provides. Spices are key to developing flavor, a roux is almost always used, and the Holy Trinity – onion, celery, and green bell pepper – is the basis for nearly every dish. Popular Cajun dishes include gumbo, a soup made with filé, okra, chicken, sausage, and sometimes shrimp, the rice-focused jambalaya, boudin (pork sausage) or boudin balls (fried pork sausage), and rice and gravy. Community-based food celebrations are also still popular within the Acadia population, including the famed crawfish boil, family boucherie, cochon de lait, and the rural Mardi Gras.


History of British Food

Great Britain – three very different countries, England, Scotland and Wales, each with a rich and varied history and culture. Perhaps this explains the diversity of its culinary traditions.

The history of Britain has played a large part in its traditions, its culture – and its food. The Romans for instance brought us cherries, stinging nettles ( to be used as a salad vegetable), cabbages and peas, as well as improving the cultivation of crops such as corn. And they brought us wine! The Romans were prolific road builders, these roads allowing for the first time the easy transportation of produce throughout the country.

The Saxons were excellent farmers and cultivated a wide variety of herbs. These were not used just for flavour as they are today but were used as bulk to pad out stews.

The Vikings and Danes brought us the techniques for smoking and drying fish – even today the North East coasts of England and Scotland are the places to find the best kippers – Arbroath Smokies, for example. “Collops” is an old Scandinavian word for pieces or slices of meat, and a dish of Collops is traditionally served on Burns Night (25th January) in Scotland. York Ham is a great favourite with the British housewife. The first York Ham is said to have been smoked with the sawdust of oak trees used in the building of York Minster.

The Normans invaded not only our country but also our eating habits! They encouraged the drinking of wine and even gave us words for common foods – mutton (mouton) and beef (boeuf) for example. In the 12th century the Crusaders were the first Britons to taste oranges and lemons whilst in Jaffa in 1191-2.

Britain has always been a great trading nation. Saffron was first introduced into Cornwall by the Phoenicians at a very early date when they first came to Britain to trade for tin. Derived from the dried and powdered stigmas of the saffron crocus, saffron is still used today in British cooking. The importation of foods and spices from abroad has greatly influenced the British diet. In the Middle Ages, wealthy people were able to cook with spices and dried fruits from as far away as Asia. It has been said however that the poor people were lucky to eat at all!

In Tudor times, new kinds of food started to arrive due to the increase in trade and the discovery of new lands. Spices from the Far East, sugar from the Caribbean, coffee and cocoa from South America and tea from India. Potatoes from America began to be widely grown. Eccles Cakes evolved from Puritan days when rich cakes and biscuits were banned.

Turkeys were bred almost exclusively in Norfolk up until the 20th century. In the 17th century, turkeys were driven from Norfolk to the London markets in great flocks of 500 birds or more. Their feet were sometimes bandaged to protect them. Upon arrival in London, they had to be fattened up for several days before market.

The growth of the Empire brought new tastes and flavours – Kedgeree, for example, is a version of the Indian dish Khichri and was first brought back to Britain by members of the East India Company. It has been a traditional dish at the British breakfast table since the 18th and 19th centuries.

Nowadays you can sample cuisines from all around the world – chinese, indian, italian, french, american, spanish, thai, etc., reflecting the ethnic diversity of Britain today as well as the modern ease of travel. Some would even claim ‘Curry’ to be a traditional British dish – although it bears little resemblance to the curries to be found in India!

So what is British cuisine? Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding, Steak and Kidney Pie, Trifle – these are the dishes that everyone associates with Britain. But like the country of Britain which is constantly changing and evolving, so is British food, and whilst today these dishes are ‘traditionally British’, in the future perhaps dishes such as the British Curry will join them!

A rather appetising curry dish! Author: stu_spivack. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.


Origin of Cuisine

Culinary can be used to refer to anything to do with food, the kitchen, or cooking. It’s a flexible word. Interestingly, the word cuisine, which we get from the French, comes from the same Latin roots and is similar to the Spanish word cocina, which means “kitchen.” La cuisine literally means “kitchen” in French but the word has a plasticity that causes it to be used to mean “a style of cooking,” or even “to cook”

Many people know the word cuisine from the very popular Japanese cooking show Iron Chef and its present American version. On that show a fictional “chairman” played by an acto r , begins the cooking competition between chefs by shouting “Allez cuisine!”. The original Iron Chef Chairman, Takeshi Kaga, was played by the real life stage and screen actor Shigekatsu Katsuta. He is supposedly saying “Go to the kitchen.” To be more precise, the original Chairman Kaga actually said something more like “Alleh-Kizeen!” If he meant to say “go to the kitchen” this would be incorrect French. To the kitchen would actually be “À la cuisine.” However, apparently even native French speakers cannot quite decide if he is breaking any rules, as there could be other intentions, such as the imperative allez, cuisine: “Come on, let’s go do some cooking,” or “come on, let’s get to the kitchen.” This just goes to show how plastic the word cuisine is. Since I don’t speak French, despite my three years of trying to study it, I don’t know what anybody is saying, only that I never use the word cuisine and only chose the word culinary for this site because it has “cool” in it.


The Origins Of Fettuccine Alfredo

When your stomach aches, your mom may have offered you saltines or plain toast -- something light that wouldn't aggravate your tummy. In Italy, this same principle applies, but with pasta.

In 1914, one particular upset stomach originated what we now know as fettuccine alfredo. Alfredo di Lelio ran a restaurant on the Via della Scrofa in Rome. His wife Ines was pregnant with their second child, and the pregnancy caused her terrible nausea. Unable to keep much down, Alfredo made Ines a dish of plain pasta, pasta in bianco, or white pasta. He tossed the fresh-made pasta with butter and Parmesan.

Ines ate this dish regularly, with whatever happened to be the fatte in casa ("made in house") pasta. Alfredo added it to the restaurant's menu. While on their honeymoon in 1920, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, two famous American actors of the silent movies, were in the restaurant and tasted the simple pasta -- that day, fettuccine. They asked for the recipe, and brought it home to the U.S.

To express their gratitude to Alfredo and his restaurant, the couple sent a gift of silverware and a photo of the two of them in the restaurant. The gold fork and spoon were engraved with the words, "to Alfredo the King of the noodles" and their names. Reporters wrote about the gift, touting "Alfredo's fettuccine" to the Hollywood elite. Many of them visited on subsequent trips to Rome, adding more photos and cachet to the restaurant. Crowds would gather whenever there were rumors of famous actors eating there. Alfredo's restaurant became a popular tourist destination.

In 1943, di Lilio sold the restaurant to a new owner, who kept the restaurant's name (Alfredo alla Scrofa), menu, and all the photos on the wall. In 1950, Alfredo and his son Armando opened another restaurant, Il Vero Alfredo, "the true Alfredo," which is now managed by Alfredo's grandchildren. Both restaurants claim to be the originator of the dish.

But fettuccine alfredo, which to Italians was little more than buttered noodles, didn't take off in Italy as it did in the United States.

In 1977, di Lilio and a partner opened another Alfredo's near Rockefeller Center in New York City. A third Alfredo's opened in Epcot at Disney World, but closed in 2007. Together, these restaurants popularized and made ubiquitous "alfredo sauce," which has been varied with chicken, shrimp, assorted cheeses, and different ratios of flour, cream, or milk.

Back in Italy, however, the only place you'll find alfredo sauce is at the competing Alfredo restaurants, where the fettuccine alfredo is mixed tableside, often with the Pickford and Fairbanks golden fork and spoon (each has a set they claim to be the original). Singers serenade tourists as they feast. Elsewhere, you'll have to ask for the dish by its other names, including fettuccine al burro, fettuccine burro e parmigiano, or pasta in bianco. No one will know what you're asking for if you ask for fettuccine alfredo.


The History of Fusion Cuisine

Fusion Cuisine is actually not new. It has been around for a couple of decades. Chefs started to merge cuisines around the 󈨊s. Culinary legends like Wolfgang Puck among others introduced this concept. He actually laid down the foundation for this technique. He is the brains behind the common culinary fusions and pairings. An example of which is the fusion of European cuisine with Asian cuisine, commonly referred to as Eurasian cuisine. This was easy for Chef Puck because of his knowledge of both cuisines. He was originally trained in Europe, but he is thoroughly familiar with the Asian dishes. Eurasian basically combines two cooking techniques and dishes, so you can end up with poached tofu, for example, which generally mixes European and Asian method of poaching.

Over the years, fusion cuisine restaurants emerged all over Europe. Many of these restaurants were established in urban areas. In fact, you would likely find these restaurants still offering the same mixed cuisines. Urban areas are actually prime spots for fusion cuisine restaurants since these are also the areas where cultural integration is more predominant. Thus, people are more acceptable of the combined culinary dishes.

Of course, this form of cooking is not limited to Eurasian cuisines. Asian foods are also combined. You can find dishes that combine Thai food with Malaysian food or Malaysian cuisines with Vietnamese dishes. Combining cuisines of countries from the same region, however, is less challenging. It is actually easier to combine ingredients from the same region because these countries have, more or less, influenced each other in their cooking.

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