A new history of Italy told through its food, by the author of the worldwide bestseller COSA NOSTRA.
Everyone loves Italian food. But how did the Italians come to eat so well? The advertising industry tells us the answer lies in the vineyards and olive groves of Tuscany - among sun-weathered peasants, and mammas serving pasta under the pergola. Yet this nostalgic fantasy has little to do with the real history of Italian cuisine. For a thousand years, Italy's cities have been magnets for everything that makes for great eating: ingredients, talent, money, and power. So Italian food is city food, and telling its story means telling the story of the Italians as a people of city dwellers. In DELIZIA! the author of the acclaimed COSA NOSTRA takes a revelatory historical journey through the flavours of Italy's cities. From the bustle of Medieval Milan, to the bombast of Fascist Rome; from the pleasure gardens of Renaissance Ferrara, to the putrid alleyways of nineteenth-century Naples. In rich slices of urban life, DELIZIA! shows how violence and intrigue, as well as taste and creativity, combined to make the world s favourite cuisine.
Mouthwatering...like lunch in the green hills above Lake Como, or dinner at the horseshoe bays of Sardinia, Dickie's book is sheer pleasure. - Financial Times
Informs as well as enlightens...a clever and provoking account of Italy's history - Guardian
Full of fascinating detail - Independent
Important - Observer
Like a really classy cook shop, Delizia! is stuffed with arcane culinary facts and gadgets, anecdotes, recipes and stories. - Sunday Telegraph
A feast of horrors and delights...hard to fault: enlightening and consistently moreish - The Sunday Times
delightfully witty and anecdote-rich - Sunday Telegraph
witty history of Italy through food. - Sunday Times
John Dickie is Professor of Italian Studies at University College London. Hodder & Stoughton published his Cosa Nostra: A History of the Sicilian Mafia in 2004, to ecstatic reviews. It became an international bestseller, with over 20 translations, and won the CWA Dagger Award for Non-fiction that year. Since then he has published Delizia!: The Epic History of the Italians and their Food (2007) - now a six-part TV series for HIstory Channel Italia and other networks worldwide. His most recent books are Mafia Brotherhoods (2011) and Mafia Republic: Italy's Criminal Curse (2013).
In 2005 the President of the Italian Republic appointed him a Commendatore dell'Ordine della Stella della Solidarieta Italiana.