Come si mangiava in passato… terza parte, Gramigna con salsiccia
Nella terza parte del nostro articolo su come si mangiava in passato, diamo una occhiata a come si sono evoluti nel tempo la cucina e l’alimentazione.
Dal Settecento in poi, in Europa ci fu una migliore disponibilità di prodotti grazie al miglioramento delle colture agricole e al trasporto dei prodotti verso i mercati.
Arrivarono così, sulle tavole europee, prodotti dall’oriente come le arachidi, l’ananas, la soia e il mango.
L’arrivo delle patate, inoltre, aiutò a risolvere il problema dell’alimentazione di molti popoli poveri, soprattutto quelli irlandesi e tedeschi. La Francia portò grandi innovazioni nel campo, tra cui il Cognac, il paté, le meringhe, i sughi di base, le glasse e la maionese.
L’arte della pasticceria, invece, si evolse grazie alla coltivazione della barbabietola da zucchero. Le scoperte di Pasteur portarono alla pastorizzazione del latte e alla creazione di prodotti caseari.
I grandi chef della cucina francese portavano le loro tecniche e ricette in tutta Europa, e malgrado molti cuochi italiani riuscissero a farsi notare per la loro creatività e bravura, ebbero vita difficile.
Il primo ad emergere con i suoi modi innovativi fu Pellegrino Artusi, e nel 1891 fu pubblicato il suo manuale di cucina dal titolo La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiar bene, semplicemente conosciuto come “L’Artusi“.
Questo libro valorizzava la cucina italiana, fu tradotto in molte lingue, e ancora oggi è considerato un capolavoro della cucina italiana e del come servire a tavola.
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How did one eat in the past? . . . part three
Gramigna pasta (short curled lengths of pasta) with sausages
In the third part of our article on how one used to eat in the past, let’s take a look at how food and nutrition have evolved over the years.
Since the 1700s, in Europe, there was an improvement in the availability of food thanks to the enhancement of farming techniques and of transportation of the products to the markets. Peanuts, pineapples, soybeans and mangos arrived from the orient on to the European tables. The arrival of potatoes helped to eliminate problems of malnutrition in many poor countries, especially in Ireland and Germany.
France contributed very much to the innovations in the culinary world, with the introduction of Cognac, paté, meringue, sauces, frostings and mayonnaise. The art of baking, instead, evolved thanks to sugar beet farming. Pasteur’s discoveries brought pasteurized milk and the creation of many dairy products.
The great chefs of the French cuisine brought their techniques and recipes all over Europe, and although many Italian cooks managed to prove their ability and creativity, they had a difficult time in being successful. The first one to emerge with his innovative ways and ideas was Pellegrino Artusi who, in 1891, published a cooking manual entitled La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiar bene (science in the kitchen and the art of eating well), simply known as “L’Artusi”.
This book promotes the Italian cuisine, it was translated into many languages, and is still today a masterpiece of Italian cooking and table setting and serving.
The 20th century brought about a great change in the movement of people who were always looking for better places in which to eat. The 1960s brought great gastronomic vitality with its economic boom, refrigerators, ovens and electrical appliances. More and more women started entering the working world, there was less time for cooking and this could be seen also by the types of recipe books that were published at the time, with simple, healthy yet fast alternatives.
The local town fairs and food festivals were more numerous and regional cooking was publicized, as well as the more modern cooking techniques which required less fat and safeguarded the integrity of the ingredients. There was less manual labour, which required heavy nourishing meals, and the modern lifestyles called for a lighter cuisine. This also brought on the preference for steaming food and eating ‘al dente’.
In the past, before large supermarkets and online shopping, food was purchased in regional open markets, and in specialized local shops near our homes. The most popular foods were milk, soups, cornmeal, eggs, seasonal vegetables, pork, chicken and potatoes. Beef, cakes and non-seasonal fruit and vegetables were rare. One didn’t have frozen foods, long-life products, homogenized, freeze-dried and packaged foods. People used to buy un-packaged food and what was eaten was natural, without preservatives and additives, it wasn’t treated with pesticides, and meat wasn’t full of hormones. Many many years ago there was, yes, less quantity, but surely the quality was better.
The meals today are becoming more and more simple, and are often reduced to a quick sandwich eaten on the go. Important meals, with many servings and lovely table settings with refined tableware, are reserved for special occasions. Unfortunately, we tend to buy more than what we need and there is much food waste. According to statistics, today we purchase more fish, fruit and vegetables, we follow a healthier diet, consumption has risen, tastes have changed, as well as the time dedicated to the preparation of meals.
We are, however, seeing a comeback of a preference for buying locally-produced products (in Italy KM-0), that is shopping locally in farms that guarantee the quality of the raw material and where packaging and transportation are avoided. . . from the farm to the table! Shops which specialize in organic foods are multiplying. According to the Italian federation of public food and catering businesses, the Italians today are looking to find better quality products at reasonable prices more than in the past.
Italy has an enormous variety of typical products with titles such as Denominazione d’Origine Protetta (DOP), Indicazione Geografica Protetta (IGP), and Specialità Tradizionale Garantita (STG), all titles that indicate the protected origin and traditional quality of said products, and this is a record for the European Union, so this means. . . Italy = food and culture!
Nevertheless, globalization has brought with it the phenomenon of fast food eateries. Fortunately, the Italians continue to be tied to their culinary and gastronomic traditions. We believe that our Italian cuisine might at times be complex, but it is wise and creative. As a reminder of old traditions, today we wish to share with you the recipe for Gramigna pasta with sausages. Gramigna is a word for Bermuda grass, but also the name of a short curled pasta which is similar to small bucatini, and is very popular both in the fresh version and in the egg version. It is typically used in the Bologna region, and one of the most popular recipes is this one, as famous as the tagliatelle with ragù sauce. It can be prepared with a white sauce made with a stir fry of onions, butter and sausages, with Parmigiano cheese and a bit of milk, or with a red sauce, as we’ve prepared it!
Onion, carrot, celery
Olive oil, salt, pepper
In a large frying pan, we put the oil with the chopped celery, carrot and onion. We stir fry a bit then add the peeled and chopped sausages. We stir for a while then add the wine and let it evaporate. When this is done, we add the tomatoes which have been peeled and chopped, then add the salt and pepper. We leave the sauce to cook while we put the water to boil in a large pot. When it reaches boiling point, we add salt and the pasta. When this is done, according to our preferences we can either make it red or pink – in this case we add the heavy cream to the sauce (depending on your taste you can add more or less sauce or cream) – or white as we mentioned above. We prefer it half and half . . . you make your choice and enjoy!