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Pomodoro! - A History of the Tomato in Italy - cover

Pomodoro! - A History of the Tomato in Italy

David Gentilcore

Publisher: Columbia University Press

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Summary

A chronicle of the beloved base ingredient, from its origins, agricultural riches, and controversy to the passion, pride, and nostalgia it inspires today.   Over time, the tomato has embodied a range of values and meanings. From its domestication in Central America, it has traveled back and forth across the Atlantic, powering a story of aspiration and growth, agriculture and industry, class and identity, and global transition. In this entertaining, organic history, David Gentilcore recounts the surprising rise of the tomato from its New World origin to its Old World significance. From its inauspicious introduction into Renaissance Europe, the tomato came to dominate Italian cuisine and the food industry over the course of three centuries.   Gentilcore explores why elite and peasant cultures took so long to assimilate the tomato into Italian cooking and how it eventually triumphed. He traces the tomato's appearance in medical and agricultural treatises, travel narratives, family recipe books, kitchen accounts, and Italian art, literature, and film. He focuses on Italy's fascination with the tomato, painting a larger portrait of changing trends and habits that began with botanical practices in the sixteenth century and attitudes toward vegetables in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and concluded with the emergence of factory production in the nineteenth. Gentilcore continues with the transformation of the tomato into a national symbol during the years of Italian immigration and Fascism and examines the planetary success of the "Italian" tomato today.  “Those with an interest in tomatoes, Italian life, or just cultural history in general may find this both enlightening and entertaining.” —Diane Leach, PopMatters
Available since: 06/15/2010.
Print length: 272 pages.

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