DOMESTIC LIFE AND REGIONAL SPECIALTIES IN ITALY
Most of Italian daily life from ancient times to today is spent in the streets and squares of cities, towns, and villages. Home is the place to eat dinner hut the streets and squares truly represent Italian life. The squares provide fountains and wells, markets and a place to gossip, a playground for the children and a place to see and he seen. Early Roman kitchens, with their cooking hearths, metal and earthenware pots, and efficient utensils, were highly practical. In many areas all are in use today, even earthenware jars to store oil and wine. The older ways are more prevalent in rural and southern areas, while the cities of the North produce ultramodern appliances and kitchen designs that are not only used in wealthy Italian homes, but also exported worldwide.
Discussion of Italy’s particularly important regional specialties are divided into the North, Central, and Southern regions. The provinces of Piedmont, Lombardy Veneto, and Emilio-Romagna will be considered as North; Tuscany, Umbria – The Marshes, and Rome-Lazio as Central; the Southern area will include the provinces and islands – Abruzzo-Molise, Naples-Campagna, Calabria-Lucania, Apulia, Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica.
Perhaps nowhere else in the world are regional food specialties so passionately and proudly defended and enjoyed. And of all foods, none receives more passionate dedication in Italy than bread. Carol Field notes that “bread is so fundamental to everyday eating.’ that meals are described as what will accompany the bread. Breads for every occasion are found in plentiful supply in thousands of specialty bakeries throughout Italy, and many treasured family recipes begin by advising the cook to “take the baker’s bread dough and add …” What is deftly added creates the family’s snacks, meals, and holiday specialties. Varieties and uses include pizza, grissini, panini, crostini, bruschetta, foccace, bread salads, bread soups, and country cakes made from bread crumbs. Holiday breads include panettone, pandoro, bolzanese, veneziana, pizza de pasqua, and gubana – all sweet and light and many studded with raisins, nuts, and chopped fruits, and scented with spices, vanilla, and fresh lemon zest.