Eating History: Italy

The history of Italian food is an adventure that takes us a long, long way from advertising's cosy tales of mamma rolling gnocchi for the bambini, or the peasants eating pizza under the pergola. The idea that Italian food issues from a world of timeless rustic simplicity is false.

This six-part series focuses on Italian identity, and with it the Italian flair for food. It's also rather funny - host John Dickie is Professor of Italian Studies at University College London, and the author of several books including Delizia - the epic history of the Italians and their food, Mafia Republic: Italy's Criminal Curse and Cosa Nostra: A History of the Sicilian Mafia, but he's far from a dusty academic. He brings to the series wit and a rather entertaining willingness to throw himself into all manner of unexpected situations, from donning painfully authentic recreations of Roman sandals to drinking a vile "sports" drink. Happily for our adventurous host, there are also some fine meals and meetings with good cooks and leading chefs.

Previous Episode

Viva l'Italia

Episode 1x06; Aug 25, 2016

Italian food's conquest of the world is today almost complete and it is now considered the world's best cuisine. But it was not always like that. John tells the story of a remarkable transformation. In this episode, Johns subjects a group of moder

Previous Episodes

Episode NameAirdateTrailer
1x06: Viva l'ItaliaAug 25, 2016
1x05: Hunger gamesAug 18, 2016
1x04: The private life of pastaAug 11, 2016
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