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Now that's Italian! representations of Italian food in American popular magazines, 1950-2000

Cinotto, Simone

"Few things identify Italy and Italians (and home and abroad) as food. Food occupies center stage in
many popular representations of Italian national culture, and the market of Italian Food (i.e., the
food represented, perceived, and exchanged as “Italian”) has reached global dimensions. Since food
is a cultural artifact, imbued with meanings and values, the cross-cultural consumption of Italian
cuisine is a significant marker of the way in which others see and imagine Italy and the Italians.
Everyday, massive numbers of consumers in different places purchase commodified Italian
identities in a culinary form. What are the images and symbols that Italian Food conveys and why
are attractive? How these images and symbols have been changing over time and for the effect of
what forces? Given the size of the American market for Italian Food and the role of the United
States as a site of production of internationally distributed images in the second half of the
Twentieth Century, the case study of the consumption of Italian Food in postwar America is
essential to any historical approach to these issues. The case study also makes an interesting
example of changing mechanisms of “consumption of the Other” in contemporary America."

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Academic Units
Italian Academy
Publisher
Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, Columbia University
Series
Italian Academy Fellows' Seminar Working Papers
Published Here
March 31, 2011