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Essay Example: Italian Culture in America

3 pages
651 words
Wesleyan University
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Historically, numerous topics have attracted as much scholarly writing, professional research, or popular attention. Food and eating together with the relationship between food and culture is a topic that has also come along way. As the expectation of many, considering the fundamental role of food as a basic necessity to human survival, it is not surprising meets a new food documentary, diet program, cooking shows, or eating movement that arises to cast a challenge in the previous dietary truths and the way we tend to think about eating. This work seeks to unravel food and eating from a cultural perspective with the provision of feeding practices (Kleinfelder, 2004). Even though man varied intersections of food and culture have come to my attention several times, I have been fascinating a great deal during my time with Italian Americans, getting to learn more about how they associate food to their rich culture. Their attempt to the preservation of Italian culture in the Italian-America communities across America is also one of the new occurrences worth considering. From an Italian American perspective, an individual who has grown up within the heavily italicized area of South Philadelphia and writing from experience, I will cast my description that Italian American refusal to Americanize their food as did other aliens is one of the reflections of the profound importance of the food to Italian people. It is important to note that the importance of food has led Italian Americans well as Americans to expose their children to food and cooking superbly (Kleinfelder, 2004). Concisely they are equipping them with communicative gastronomic and mechanical skills in comparison to other children growing up in communities and families who do not emphasize on food and food culture to represent a significant part of their life.

In aiding the explanation of my views, I will choose to incorporate scholarly works of Levenstein an American response to the types of Italian food. The plight of Italian immigrants to America is brought to our attention as the people who resisted assimilation more than other immigrant groups. They have gone to extensive lengths in preserving their food as well as food culture. In this case, he refers to the Italian immigrants as an exceptional group to the rule of cuisine assimilation (Kittler, Sucher & Nahikian-Nelms, 2012). These people were often snubbed within the larger community because of their foreign foodways, which was prejudice and alienation to their community. From my perspective, it would be easy to religious an American way of life, but the Italians did persist and went on to more considerable lengths to acquire the ingredients they needed. For example, Italians would cultivate fruits and vegetable wherever possible, whether it would be on gardens or rooftops as well as raising livestock in their basements.

As much as these Italian habits were distinguishable from other cultures such as those of the American populations, the pressure to change their eating habits was tremendous; nonetheless, their consolidation of their culture and eating habits made them found a community among themselves. As asserted by Lovenstein, there were no such issues as Italian foods because Italy had just been unified politically as the country was marked by local and regional differences (Kittler et al,. 2012). Even though the immigrants were so fragmented because of class hostilities, it is surprising to witness how they put differences aside and would come together and share in the interest of food. It thus indicated that the Italian food was the primary source of pride that the community could share. This phenomenon has been one of the driving factors for a reason the Italians have been able to keep an ethnic consciousness vibrant as well as maintaining a semblance of Italian authenticity despite being in the new environment.



Kleinfelder, P. (2004). American Influence on Italian Food Culture-A Case Study.

Kittler, P. G., Sucher, K., & Nahikian-Nelms, M. (2012). Food and culture. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.


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