Italian Food – An Overview
Italian food is more than a form of nourishment; it’s a way of life in a country where family, friendship and feasts are all indelibly linked. Italian food is simple, vibrant and good for you. From roasts to risotto, pasta to preserves, soups to sauces, Italian food is popular all year round. Italian food is highly famed: greatly loved and tirelessly imitated the world over, it has been a source of endless pleasure and joie-de-vivre in countries far and wide. Italian food is not just for Italians, but for everyone.
For hundreds of years Italian cooking has followed a very simple principle: food is best when it’s cooked fresh and in season. I am a great fan of Italian cuisine, and a firm believer that cooking is an art, not a task. Most traditional Italian dishes as we know today, are on the whole derived from simple peasant cookery, for example the Pizza, which could be found a couple of centuries ago on the streets of Naples being sold by street vendors to those that had no cooking facilities of their own at home. The regional cooking depends on a number of factors, not only as to what ingredients are most abundant each region, but also historical factors. The recipes of Northern and Southern Italian dishes are quite different and use different methods of cooking. With the exception of a few areas near lakes that exert a moderating influence, Northern Italy is too cold for olive trees to grow, and as a result much of the population used butter for cooking.
Pasta, no doubt, plays a large part in most traditional Italian food, and few cultures know how to employ a tomato the way that Italians can. Pasta and olive oil are considered the characteristics of southern Italian food, while northern food focuses on rice and butter (although today there are many exceptions). Italian food is all about combinations of delicious local flavours, a simple sauce, a sprinkling of Parmesan and of course real Italian pasta.
Ingredients used in Italian cooking, such as pasta, olive oil, garlic, tomatoes and red wine have proved to be contributory factors to a healthier lifestyle. Finding the right balance of ingredients is vital in creating vibrant good food. Although there are essential ingredients that every Italian kitchen should have, basil, garlic and olive oil, the most important ingredient is creativity. Italian cookery is exceptionally varied, nutritious and healthy; traditions have been handed down from one family to the next over the centuries, and are associated mainly with country life in that dishes are directly linked to what the Earth produces over the changing seasons: in other words, wholesome cooking whose goodness depends on all-natural ingredients.
Somebody once said “The trouble with eating Italian food is that 5 or 6 days later you’re hungry again”. Italian food is not just for Italians, but for everyone. Did you know that Italian food is the most popular cuisine for eating out throughout the world? I think the success of Italian food is that it’s the food that is easiest to live with.