Italian food history is a significant part of national history. Economics, politics, culture and health have a direct and privileged relationship with it. Daily survival is the first man's need, but even a pleasure and a complex story unfolds between these two terms, which has been heavily influenced by power relationships.
A story of hunger, abundance, but also of large and small commercial and cultural exchanges with neighboring or far away countries, where often wealthy men leftover food was transformed in wonderful dishes by chefs and servants, as poor dishes that become specialties and symbols of the whole nation.
Since the discovery of fire, by the growth of cereals and the use of pots, many dishes were unchanged over the centuries still remain very popular dishes.
And so skewers, the bread flavored with olive oil and some other ingredients. The same can be said of many vegetable soups and cereals, sometimes enriched with meat or fish and lots of boiled vegetables, as for many types of flour which became famous types of pasta or bread (like pizza).
Italian food history has deep roots, and it has developed over the centuries passing unscathed through many political and social changes, even if continually reviewed and renewed.
Starting from Etruscan cooking, through the banquets of ancient Greece, Byzantium and Rome, between the flavors of the Hebrew and Arabic, the Italian food has had great influences that have marked habits and way of life up to the Renaissance. Even later, despite of history consequences, some habits remained unchanged, by living with innovations that have modified people and countries.
There were also deep changes with the inclusion of food from America, after Christopher Columbus' discovery. Potatoes, tomatoes, corn are now fundamental ingredients for many dishes of traditional Italian cooking and unfailing presences on Italian tables. At first, their use has been slow and gradual, subject of studies and field testing, and then settling down and living a period of intense growth and confirmation in between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Today, the great national culinary heritage, the basics of traditional Italian recipes, but also ingredients way of use, preparation and presentation of the dishes come from regional realities which have attested to a culture and history recognized as symbol of Made in Italy all over the world.
Each region has a place in Italian food history, as result of a process that has its origins in history and local traditions, but at the same time taking part to a remarkable national purpose which protects and enhances the value of its products. Meat, milk, oil, cheese, flour, fruits, wine, just to mention some of the most genuine and original resources of the territory, give to Italy a particular value that can best express land and people roots.
Italian regions own characteristic dishes that stand out for their "Italianity", including pizza, pasta, wine and oil, which are guarantees of "made in Italy" quality abroad and they fear no comparisons with the rest of the world.