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What is Italian American Cuisine


Craig Camp
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I also found that good wine is to be had in Campagna, even if the region is not famous for its wines internationally

Pan - That was true at the time but in the second half of the nineties the wines from Campania became quite famous. Two of them, Montevetrano and Terre di Lavoro sell for in excess of $100 a bottle in good vintages. I happen to like them very much, in spite of the fact that they are made in a super-modern style. Both wines, as do other wines from the region, have this great loamy and mineral quality to them from the volcanic soil in the region. There is even a grape that is unique to the region, Aglianaco which is what most of the wines are made from. Some of them, like Montevetrano, are blends and in that case they blend it with Cabernet Sauvignon.

Otherwise, in the future when we discuss the failure of Italian cuisine outside of the home, I am just going to link it to this thread :raz:.

One of the problems with Italian restaurant cuisine in the U.S. is that the more refined cuisines are from the North of Italy and there were not many immigrants from those places to the U.S. I mean where is there an authentic Piemontese restaurant in the U.S. White truffles, polenta, risotto are all from the region yet there is not a single Piemontese restaurant I can think of. Nor is there a true Milanese restaurant. Venetian? There was Adam Tihany's place but it was not really authentic. Ligurian? Panzotti at Mezzaluna was as close as we get. So what we end up with is sort of a mishmosh. Even in Tuscan restaurants in the U.S. , it isn't like they are authentic. People serve veal roasted with rosemary and they call it Tuscan.

Edited by Steve Plotnicki (log)
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I think the problem is that I-A cooking hasn't been codified to any degree, so we wouldn't even know what it is we're looking for. Any opinions on that, or info on where it's been defined or documented?

Absolutly true. Some pleasant, homey and cute cookbooks that's about it. The question is, "why not?" With such a huge following you would think there would be more information available.

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I think the problem is that I-A cooking hasn't been codified to any degree, so we wouldn't even know what it is we're looking for. Any opinions on that, or info on where it's been defined or documented?

Absolutly true. Some pleasant, homey and cute cookbooks that's about it. The question is, "why not?" With such a huge following you would think there would be more information available.

The research necessary is more of an academic project than something worth doing for mainstream cookbook pub., don't you think? The only two I found in a quick search that claimed to do any kind of research were by Bastianich and Mariani. I haven't read them....

Here's a link to a short article by a woman who self published, if anyone is interested.

She also relates that there are I-A internet food forums that break out into flame wars whilst trying to hash out terminology and other details.

:rolleyes:

http://users.telerama.com/~cass/ItAmAmericana.html

edit: couldn't figure out the link feature

Edited by The Camille (log)
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One of the problems with Italian restaurant cuisine in the U.S. is that the more refined cuisines are from the North of Italy and there were not many immigrants from those places to the U.S. I mean where is there an authentic Piemontese restaurant in the U.S. White truffles, polenta, risotto are all from the region yet there is not a single Piemontese restaurant I can think of. Nor is there a true Milanese restaurant. Venetian? There was Adam Tihany's place but it was not really authentic. Ligurian? Panzotti at Mezzaluna was as close as we get. So what we end up with is sort of a mishmosh. Even in Tuscan restaurants in the U.S. , it isn't like they are authentic. People serve veal roasted with rosemary and they call it Tuscan.

I agree with this wholeheartedly. Northern Italian food is so entirely different than what is generally considered "Italian" food it would be unrecognizable to those who grew up in Nonna's Napolitana or Siciliana kitchen. It is very difficult to find restaurants that specialize in Northern Italian food, and I feel the way Steve P does about the misunderstanding of Tuscan cuisine. Even the d'Abbruzzese, who represent a fair amount of Italian-American immigrants do not get a fair representation, in the home or in restaurants.

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It usually isn't delicious in the U.S., just bland. In Tuscany you can find some delicious versions, but it is quite often bland there as well. But all that is aside from the point. By putting something roasted with rosemary on the menu, U.S. Italian restaurants feel that they can call themselves Tuscan, when there is more to it then that. Even Tuscan beans, which can be a great thing, many restaurants labeling themselves Tuscan don't even have beans on their menu. I would like just one restauarnt in NYC to offer a riso al salto, one of my favorites. And it is so easy to make. It's just leftover saffron risotto fried in butter like a pancake. But if I want to eat it, I have to fly 4000 miles to Milan. That's pretty silly considering the hundreds of Northern Italian restaurants in this country.

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