Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
Richard Kilgore

Italian Influences in African Cooking?

Recommended Posts

In a discussion in the Texas forum about an woman in San Antonio who is marketing E. African foods in the US, the question of Italian influences on African cooking came up. I think this has been discused in this forum before but could not find it.

Does anyone know anything about the Italian influences, what areas of Africa they touch, and how this came to be?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Italy invaded Ethiopia, Eritrea, and parts of Libya and Somalia in the mid 1930s during the rise of Italian fascism; relinquishing them in the early 1940s as part of the general defeat of the axis powers in Africa.

Might go some way to explaining an Italian influence...


Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vicer Versa, African influences are huge here in Italy. North African influences can be seen day to day in the Southern part of Italy with different spices introduce to classic dishes, methods of preparation, etc. Morrocco, Tunisia, etc. are all very close by, and the migration of these countries has not ceased either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you want to take the Italians all the way back to Roman times. Well there are ancient Roman ruins in Setif, Algeria where my parents are from. The Romans also turned Tunisia into the breadbasket for the Roman empire. It is widely accepted that the Arabs introduced dried pasta to Sicily. The moors in Spain. Several hundreds of years ago the Spanish were in Algeria (we still make our own version of Paella), Italians were part of the pied noir settlers in North Africa and so on and so on.

The history of the Mediterranean is rich with trade and conquests. The food around the entire Basin is informed by all of this. The people to. When I visited Italy, the locals assumed that I was from the South. When I went to Spain I was thought to be from Andalusia. Here in the States folks from all around the Basin (African, European and Middle Eastern sides) , Latin America and the Carribean will speak to me in any one of the languages assuming I am from the same place. Jews ask me if I'm Jewish. I love it. :smile: At this point in my life, I really feel like I am half Korean though. :laugh:


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Romans also turned Tunisia into the breadbasket for the Roman empire. It is widely accepted that the Arabs introduced dried pasta to Sicily.

If I'm not mistaken, the Romans turned Tunisia into their oil amphora as well as breadbasket. I can't say for sure that the olive was introduced to Tunisia by Romans but I believe the mass of orchards and the early olive oil "industry" in North Africa was part of the Roman Empire's attempt to keep itself fed and fueled. My reference for this is Toussaint-Samat's and Bell's (caveat: often inaccurate) book, The History of Food.

rien

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://www.italianfood.com/en/curiosita/olivetree_00.asp

I found this. Alot of what is stated coincides with my understanding of what the general consensus is on the history Olives and Olive oil.

But then again, as I've said before I don't claim to be smarter than the average bear when it comes to much of anything, except maybe how to cook. :wink:


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I found this. Alot of what is stated coincides with my understanding of what the general consensus is on the history Olives and Olive oil.

So, based on this article I'm inclined to believe that the olive tree came to Italy from Tunisia and that perhaps later, during the expansion of empire, the Romans returned to use the olive orchards as a form of "peaceful" conquest. The article did remind me that, along with North Africa, the Romans got a lot of olive oil from Spain.

I remember coming across the phrase "porto food" in a cookbook, though the cookbook escapes me. The intention was to create a category of foods that circulated around Mediterranean ports via trade and travel, creating slightly different versions and, quite literally, feedback loops everywhere. Seems that these questions of who influenced whom often turn into chicken and egg problems; who influence whom first?

Thanks for the article.

rien

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I leave the quest of tracing influences in the Mediterranean to Ms Wolfert and Clifford Wright to name two writers.

I wonder where the oldest standing Olive tree is. My guess is the Middle East or North Africa.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I wonder where the oldest standing Olive tree is. My guess is the Middle East or North Africa.

According to many internet sources, the garden of gethsemane in jerusalem has some of the oldest trees in the world, close to 2000 years old!!!! I read elsewhere that older trees may have been found in greece.


"A chicken is just an egg's way of making another egg." Samuel Butler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A bit off topic, as it's nothing to do with modern Italian influences on African cooking, but altogether on topic if you're looking back at very early foods around the Mediterranean (and elsewhere in the world) is Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond, a book which, despite the name, is almost entirely about food.

A particularly good read for the lay person.


Can you pee in the ocean?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By haresfur
      I found this article about arancino/arancina really interesting
       

    • By jennyandthejets
      I'll be in Naples for a few days next month and I wanted to try something traditional, and my friend recommended trying parmigiana. She said she loved it, but the problem is that she ate it at her Italian friend's house, and I won't be able to have that exact parmigiana. So, I did some research online and found a few restaurants that have good ratings and are serving allegedly great eggplant casserole. This place is 4 stars rated, but people seem not to agree whether the parmigiana is good or not.... On the other hand, this place has a great rating, appears when searching for the parmigiana, but nobody seems to write about it in their reviews. Finally, this one is said to have the best parmigiana in Naples (or in the world, for that matter), and I wanted to know if anyone had the so-called world's best?
      I would really appreciate if you could help me make the decision. Looking forward to your advice!

    • By alacarte
      I recently took a trip to Northern Italy, and was delighted to find that the cappuccino everywhere was just wonderful, without exception. Smooth, flavorful, aromatic perfect crema, strong but not too strong.
      Aside from the obvious answer (duh, Italians created cappuccino ), what makes Italian capp so fantastic, and how do I duplicate the effect here?
      I'm wondering if it's the water, the way the coffee is ground or stored, the machines used....I'm baffled.
      Also noticed that the serving size tended to be smaller than what I'm used to -- i.e. a small teacupful vs. a brimming mug or Starbucks supersize. Not sure why that is either.
      Grazie mille for any insight on this!
    • By Modernist Cuisine Team
      The Modernist Cuisine team is currently traveling the globe to research pizza and different pizza styles for our next book Modernist Pizza.  Nathan and the team will be in São Paulo and Buenos Aires soon. We'd love hear from the eGullet community—what pizzerias should they visit while they're there? You can read more about our next book Modernist Pizza here. Thanks in advance, everyone! 
    • By scordelia
      My article was published (my first one!)! Hooray! And I do have some Florentine restaurant recommendations including the new Osteria del Pavone which is amazing--lampredotto ravioli is now a thing and it must be tried.
       
      http://www.classicchicagomagazine.com/florence-in-winter/
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...