I find this thread very interesting because it has not only taught me so much about food and cuisine, but has also helped my gain insight into the society at eGullet. I found the thread Osterie d'Italia by Slow Food, or escaping from the Michelin man
fascinating, and enjoyed reading it because there was so much great writing, especially by Bill Klapp, Craig Camp and others, but I don't see them writing much anymore. I don't want to stick my foot in my mouth, so if this subject is taboo, just say so.
Otherwise, I love Italian cuisine, and I love French cuisine and don't understand how they can be compared. I admit, I didn't like it when ideas were posed such as Italian food will never evolve. It may be true, but I've wept over food in both Italy and France, and would probably weep over some dish in India and Indonesia. As long as chefs can keep me sobbing, they are artists.
So, is the question really about which cuisine is better, or who is creating something new? In the recent Oats
thread Jensen just made oatmeal a side dish and named it Avenotto, so does North America finally make it to the temple table? (Just joking, but I think you get my drift.)
Ivan's French Epiphany is also interesting. I'm not a food historian so I will not attempt to discount it, but are you telling me before the French, people only ate to survive? I doubt it. They had tastebuds. But the post is so good that I made Oeufs dur Mayonnaise for dinner and it was fantastic. The Italians also model simplicity in their dishes, and with equally astonishing results. The first time I had Ravioli in Butter & Sage in Firenze, I thought I'd die. If honoring the soul of the dish is a French invention, let them have it and thank them. But if honoring the soul of a dish was only discovered by the French (much like Columbus discovering America with the Natives living here), then let's not attribute elevation of cuisine to them. If that is the case, they get a salute.