Anyone who knows me personally or has gotten to know me by following my blog has learned that I consider food to be not only nourishment for the body, but the mind and soul as well. It is a powerful storyteller and is often linked to fond memories and moments. The stories, and how they are linked to my heritage and culture, are the premise of this blog (as evidenced by the name itself) and therefore it should come as no surprise that when a book entitled “Italian Canadians at Table: A Narritive Feast in Five Courses” came across my desk, I eagerly picked up it and devoured my way through its pages.
The book, edited by Loretta Gatto-White and Delia De Santis is a wonderful collection of writings described by its own editors as a “passionate literary feast of poetry and prose”. This very appetizing anthology divided into five courses: Antipasto; Primo; Secondo; Contorno; and Dolce addresses various questions that were posed as a result of the persistence of misconceptions about Italian-Canadian food culture. Questions such as “do we force-feed guests?” “Are we in fact food obsessed?” “How many grains of truth can a stereotype hold?” The answers to these questions and more came streaming in online to Loretta and Delia from coast-to-coast across Canada and offered up surprising, thoughtful, entertaining and touching musings by 18 writers. Each contributor serves up their account, offering insights into family stories; metaphors for life; experiences of immigration; and of course the importance of food in the Italian culture whether it be in the bel paese or here in Canada.
I relished each of the poems, short stories, excerpts and essays that from this collection, immersing myself into each delightful anecdote, relating very closely to much of that which is scripted among the five courses in this literary feast. The universal bond that food creates is truly amazing, though I was not familiar with any of the authors I felt a connection to so many of them based on their narrations of nutriment.
To anyone with an appetite for the Italian culture and its gastronomy I highly recommend this heartfelt anthology as much as I would my favorite restaurant. It is an absolutely soul-satisfying read.
“If literature can be delicious take a taste from this smorgasbord of treats, words and food, that will entice you to the entire feast” (Sheldon Currie). Buon Appetito!
To learn more about this book or to purchase a copy please visit: