History of Italian Cuisine

You Put the Lime in the… Wait, What?
Image by djwtwo
Thing Two, my usual kitchen assistant, was off with her mom camping with her Girl Scout troop this weekend, leaving me with a day of dad-daughter time with Thing One. After spending Saturday wandering around the Cliff Walk and The Breakers mansion in Newport, Rhode Island with her (a picture or to might make an appearance here) and grabbing some Japanese food for dinner, she surprised me by requesting to help make something in the kitchen. She had picked up a Jello-themed cookbook at a book fair, and really wanted to make something from it. We settled on these: miniature "watermelon sliced" made in lime rinds (admittedly, these are in the book as Jello shots, so I subbed out the vodka listed in the recipe below with just cold water and a touch of vanilla extract for her.)

Nikon D7000 w/NIkkor 18-300mm @ 300mm, 1/250s @ ƒ/6.7, ISO100. Single SB-700 in 43" octabox right and rear of scene, with silver reflector front and left of scene for fill. Color finishing and slight crop in Aperture.


3 oz. package strawberry gelatin mix
1 c. boiling water
1 c. fresh or frozen strawberries, chopped
1/2 c. vodka (or substitute 1/2 c. cold water + 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract)
10 limes
black sesame seeds


Combine boiling water and gelatin mix and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Transfer to blender, add strawberries and vodka (or water/vanilla mixture) and blend to combine. Put into the refrigerator and let thicken for about 75 minutes (should be thickened but not set.)

Meanwhile. halve the limes, and using a grapefruit spoon or some other tool scrape out all the flesh of the lime, leaving the rinds intact. Reserve the lime flesh and/or juice for another use. Rinse quickly and dry.

Once the gelatin has thickened, skim off any foam, then fill the lime halves completely (I put them into the cups of a muffin tin to hold them steady.) Refrigerate until fully set, then carefully halve again with a sharp, clean knife. Decorate with black sesame seeds to mimic the watermelon seeds. Keep refrigerated for up to a day, or serve immediately.

Most people will recognize pasta and pizza – two of the most popular dishes that form part of the Italian cuisine. However, Italian cuisine has a lot more to offer than just these two well known dishes. Most importantly, Italian cuisine also has a rich and tempting history – just like the different dishes that form part of its offerings.

All over the land of Italy, all the Italians always maintain a distinctive cooking habit or style that shines in their eating habits, their styles of preparing a meal and the way they select local ingredients. Right from the pre-Roman era till date the Italian food history has gone through a considerable change.

In the ancient times, the preparation of food was very important. One of the ancient and surviving cookbooks is known as the Apicus. The Apicus dates right back to 1st century BC.

It was after the downfall of the Romans that the spread of the Italian cuisine began. Individual states started to uphold their separate traditions and identities. Every region started its own special and unique method of cooking, from the very basic preparation of the meatballs to characteristic varieties of cheeses and also the wine produced in any locale.

For example Northern states developed the Tuscan beef, on the other hand black truffles was prepared in Marches, and the very famous Mozzarella and Provolone cheeses developed in South, simultaneously being the host of a lot of citrus fruits.

There were varieties in bread, pasta, and other different food preparation methodologies according to the region. The eating habits were also a total contrast as the people in Southern Italy loved hard-boiled spaghetti, but those from the North preferred the soft-egg noodles.

Different cities started to become famous for their specialties like Milan for Risotto, Bologna for Tortellini, while Naples for Pizzas.

In these past few years the Italian cuisine evolved greatly due to the wealth from outside influences which added a flavor and an appeal. The ancient Greeks with their wealthy imports from various places added an exotic ingredients and spices to the Italian cuisine.
The Coastal regions of Italy are popular for delicious seafood and fish. For example, while Sardinia has a traditional style of cooking that includes foods such as Swordfish, anchovies, lobster, sardines, etc, Sicily has heavy North-African influences.

Even today the varieties in Italian cooking show distinctions between the northern and the southern style of cooking. Each and every region carries their traditions reflecting deeply in history. This wonderful culture with never-ending preparations of appetizers, main-courses, and desserts that will always continue to tempt our taste buds.

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