Around the Tuscan Table: Food, Family, and Gender in by Carole M. Counihan

By Carole M. Counihan

During this scrumptious e-book, famous foodstuff student Carole M. Counihan provides a compelling and artfully advised narrative approximately kinfolk and nutrition in past due 20th-century Florence. in line with sturdy examine, Counihan examines how relatives, and particularly gender have replaced in Florence because the finish of worldwide battle II to the current, giving us a portrait of the altering nature of contemporary lifestyles as exemplified via meals and foodways.

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Marianna’s childhood foods followed the basic patterns of Tuscan cuisine, limited in meat and fats due to her family’s poverty. Habit, hunger, freshness, flavorful cooking, and association with family made the foods beloved and important fifty years later when her economic situation permitted her a much richer diet. 24 • AROUND THE TUSCAN TABLE Like Marianna, fifty-four-year-old Baldo grew up in the city, but in the smaller and more provincial Empoli, 35 kilometers from Florence. His parents grew up as peasants, but they moved to town where his father was a cabinetmaker, a falegname, and his mother ran the house and braided straw on Chianti flasks at home.

6 While landlords owned the land and the means of production—land, most tools, seeds, wells, mills, houses, and work animals—peasants did all the work. Landlord and peasant theoretically split the costs of production and the harvest fifty-fifty—hence mezzadria from mezzo, meaning “half”—but in actuality, peasants bore more expenses than landlords, and by the time they finished paying off their debts, they had far less than half the crop. Their work was laborious and their subsistence was precarious (Snowden 1989, Clemente et al.

Fascist law undermined women’s participation in paid work and propagated an ideology of maternity that institutionalized women’s subordination in ways that have left an enduring mark on Italian gender relations. Springing from the ashes of World War I, fascism took Italy into World War II, which led to profound changes in Italian social, economic, and political life. 5 Landlords owned one or more estates called fattorie that were divided into peasant farms called poderi, each with its own land, stone cottage, well, bread oven, and 36 • AROUND THE TUSCAN TABLE stable—everything necessary to support a family while its members labored to produce crops.

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