Maintaining Italian Culture with Food

When learning a new language, you inherently are exposed to an entirely new culture right before your eyes. This has been something that has interested me since I first started dabbling with languages in middle school. Linguistics seemed to open a door to numerous other aspects of life, such as etiquette, cuisine, history, and more. Food in particular is something that never fails to grab my attention.

When I started learning Italian, I did not expect to focus so heavily on the culture, seeing as I was raised in an Italian household and am profoundly interested in the language. But, when the concept of cuisine was brought up, I was instantly ready to learn everything I could. The term “Slow Food” was something that sparked my interest and made me want to compare the culture of healthy food between America and Italy.

The “Slow Food” movement started in 1986 by Carlo Petrini to promote more traditional cooking and a healthier lifestyle for Italian people. Along with allowing people to grow their own foods, this movement encourages those partaking to grow produce that is also beneficial for the Earth. Year after year, more countries started adapting this lifestyle and creating their own national branches of Slow Food. This movement directly contrasts fast food chain restaurants that line thousands of streets in America. Although fast food acts as an essential part of American life by providing jobs to so many people and by serving inexpensive food quickly, it does exactly what Carlo Petrini was attempting to fight when a McDonalds was set to be built at the Spanish Steps in 1986. Culture is something so essential to uphold and maintain and Slow Food strives to keep cuisine as truly Italian as possible.

I think cuisine is something iconic to Italian culture and it is important to note how the Slow Food movement and organization allow not only for Italian people to have healthier and more balanced diets, but also attempt to give back to the environment during such a globally pivotal time.