Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Goethe on the food of Italy

I mentioned in my last post that many readers of this blog have written to me over the years. In February I was contacted by Josephine Wennerholm, an ex-pat who has been living in Frascati, the Castelli Romani area, since 1992. She was responding to a post of mine from 2009 on “Goethe as Gourmand,” in which I mentioned Goethe's failure to comment on the food in Italy during his stay there. She wrote, quoting an Italian site, that Goethe did mention cheese being sprinkled over pasta while he was sojourning in Naples. She has kindly supplied me with the translation.

“Already back in the 1700s, pasta tended to be served with simply just some cheese sprinkled upon it in many parts of Italy (Belpaese) and in his Travels in Italy, Goethe, describing the cuisine of Naples, mentions ‘the maccheroni are cooked in plain water and some cheese is then grated on top of them, thus providing both a fat content and a condiment.’”

For those interested in reading the original please go to the link above. The photo at the top of this post is from Josephine's blog Frascati Cooking. The dish, as she writes, is “the venerable vegetable stew known as Vignarola,” and it comes with recipe and step-by-step pictures.

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