Pellegrino Artusi and the Culinary Unification of Italy: Opening Lecture

Please join us for the opening events of this wonderful, ongoing exhibition. To open the event, Alberta Lai, the Director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Chicago, will be providing welcoming remarks. Following this, Professor Grazia Menechella of the Department of French and Italian will present her talk, “Italian Food Writing Across the Ocean: The Artusi Connection from Italy to Wisconsin.” This lecture looks at Pellegrino Artusi’s Scienza in Cucina e l’Arte di Mangiar Bene (Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well, 1891) as an original and innovative collective project that will influence generations of readers as well as generations of food writers, and investigates the impact and legacy of Artusi and his unique cookbook in the US, especially in Wisconsin. This event will take place on Wednesday, March 13 2019, in Memorial Library Room 126 at 4 PM, and is free and open to the public. 

This exhibition explores the world-famous cookbook Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well (La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiar bene) published by Pellegrino Artusi in 1891. More than a cookbook, this book was a political project – the contribution Artusi wanted to give his country, laboriously unified a few years earlier. Artusi’s work aimed to reflect the traditions of the whole country, not denying the extraordinary variety of local traditions, rather putting them into circulation, making them known and shared. This project – also a linguistic one: telling the kitchen in a “national” language that everyone could understand – worked in a “inter-active”, almost a collective way, involving the many readers who sent Artusi suggestions, advice and new recipes. That’s why La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiar bene became a sort of collective work, adding more and more recipes over twenty years and fifteen editions, and published up until Artusi’s death (1911). This exhibition includes 14 panels about Pellegrino Artusi and the culinary unification of Italy, as well as Italian and Italian-American cookbooks from the UW-Madison Library collections.The exhibition is sponsored by the Italian Cultural Institute in Chicago, Casa Artusi, Regione Emilia Romagna, Food Studies Network at UW-Madison, European Studies and the Department of French and Italian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. With special thanks to UW-Madison Librarians Jules Arensdorf, Karen Dunn, and Lisa Wettleson.