Category Archives: Italian

Three Lines, One Universe

La Garisenda, Bologna

“Dante, perche Virgilio se ne vada/ non pianger anco, non piangere ancora/ ché pianger ti conven per altra spada” 
‘Dante, because Virgil has departed,/ do not weep, do not weep yet– / there is another sword to make you weep.’

Canto 30, Purgatorio, Dante’s Divina Commedia. We’re in terrestrial paradise, the Garden of Eden. I’m particularly fond of lines 55-57. Virgil, Dante’s pagan guide up to this point, has just left and Dante is bereft at his departure. But Beatrice, the poet’s celestial love, won’t let Dante mourn for long. So — despite her indirect appearance in Inferno 2 — she utters her first words in the poem. They mark Dante’s first and only naming. Academic commentators eagerly dissect the tercet’s consequence. Should Dante’s name take precedence? Should Beatrice’s appearance? Should Virgil’s absence? Or should we abandon scholarly analysis and respond to them all? Together they articulate the mix of love, hope and loss that growth engenders.

You’ve experienced the emotion Beatrice describes. I call them Virgil moments, or ‘altra spada’ moments. Virgil moments portend change. They are the instances that reshape perception as we shift from one state to another. When Beatrice says Dante’s name; when she repeats ‘piangere’, to cry, three times; when she evokes the ‘altra spada’: she articulates ineffable feelings.

I’ve learnt that most feelings surpass language. Commentators will tell you that the triadic repetition of ‘pianger’ in lines 56-57 accents and admonishes Dante’s three invocations of Virgil’s name in lines 49-51.[1] They cite Virgil’s Georgics as the origin of the first formation, when Orpheus’s severed head calls out to Eurydice, his wife. Yet the parallel isn’t perfect. Dante’s appeal to Virgil approaches an anaphora that uplifts heathen Virgil to the heavens, while each instance of Beatrice’s ‘pianger’ evokes a unique meaning. We mustn’t weep but we may need to cry soon when we’ll shed newly painful tears. Beatrice reminds us that moments may alter our intents and emotions.

Airports and frequent departures trigger Virgil moments for me. My lingering gaze over the terminal invites others to share my sorrow. We don’t want to leave, but an unrelenting urge propels us toward the future we believe in — that we must believe in. We climb, releasing loved ones as new ideas and experiences guide us. I retract my gaze and scan my passport. These transitions, these Virgil moments, bridle us for the rivers of pain — of loneliness, of sorrow, of disappointment —so that we may benefit from rivers of joy — of success, of money, of fortune.

Beatrice calls the bad we encounter the ‘altra spada’. I prefer to treat Beatrice’s altra spada as a metaphysical symbol, but it has precise referent. Commentators agree that this ‘other sword’ is the Lethe River.[2] Drinking from its waters to earn passage into heaven, Dante instantaneously relives all sin. It’s painful; more painful than Virgil’s departure. The pilgrim then discovers sublime joy with a sip from the Eunoe River, which erases his memories of hurt and restores his faith. Dante took the former from the Bible but invented the latter, suggesting that divine words fail to describe human suffering. Thus, Dante urges us to interpret the ‘other sword’ beyond the boundaries of religion and of the character’s journey. Dante-pilgrim isn’t privileged to encounter this ‘other sword’; we all encounter it.

For me it’s the soap. After using up a bar in my last destination — or tossing it just as the logo has smoothed away — I forget about it until I arrive. Undressed and unpacking my toothbrush, I realise my soap is gone. I crave the scrubbed clean feeling I once enjoyed every night. Travel dirt lays atop my skin like an emotional scar, scoffing at my journey. ‘You thought you could reach the upper echelons?’ It hisses. ‘You’re the same person you were. You don’t understand.’ I throw water on my face. I swear to buy soap tomorrow. I do. Washing away days of travel, I rejoice in my novel routine. A bar of soap can be replaced. Still, my new one becomes a lifeline. Until, that is, it’s time move again.

Dante-poet articulates the struggle to integrate oneself into a new situation. Dante-poet articulates the burden of leaving and the catharsis of progression. In their specificity, these three lines rise above Dante-pilgrim’s journey and transcend Dante-poet’s fourteenth century Italy. In these three lines, the Commedia becomes universal. These three lines are The Divine Comedy.

[1] This quote isn’t important enough to break up your reading, but should your copy of Purgatory be buried under a pile of magazines: ‘Ma Virgilio n’avea lasciati scemi / di sé, Virgilio dolicissimo patre, / Virgilio a cui per mia saluti die’mi’ — ‘But Virgil has departed, leaving us bereft:/ Virgil, sweetest of fathers, / Virgil, to whom I gave myself for my salvation.’

[2] I shouldn’t play favourites with commentators, but I’m partial to Anna Maria Chiavacci Leonardi’s succinct description: “per qualcosa che ti infliggerà ben più dolorosa ferita” — for something that will inflict a much more painful cut. (Chiavacci Leondari 30.57)

High or Low: Bel Gioioso and the Identities of American Parmesan


Cheese truck at market

Although contemporary foodie culture reveres Parmesan, the cheese does not posses a singular representation across American society. Whether gracing the tables of the revolutionary elite, languishing in a green plastic canister, or sitting atop spaghetti, in America Parmesan shifts between exclusive and ordinary. But the crumbly, high-end wheels displayed at gourmet cheese shops are decidedly not Kraft’s mass-produced canister of 100% grated Parmesan. The stark differences between the products’ respective scientific and organoleptic profiles do not, however, impact Parmesan’s diverse social identities. Examining print ads for American-produced Parmesan suggests the cheese uses production, commerce, and quality to navigate gourmet characteristics and popular characteristics, as well as Italian identities and American identities. The manner in which a specific brand mixes these attributes allows their Parmesan to claim its unique social space.

To understand how a specific Parmesan negotiates these discourses, the consumer must recognize the linguistic, historic and economic pressures which influence the foodstuff’s place in gastronomic culture. Aged for at least twelve months, Parmigiano-Reggiano has a coarse texture, nutty flavour and high protein content.[1] While the precise origins of the cheese are unknown, many agree that Benedictine monks in the provinces of Parma and Reggio-Emilia were among the first producers. By the 14th century, the cheese had earned a reputation for high-quality, appearing in Boccaccio’s Decameron as a luxurious mountain of grated cheese, ‘…ed eravi una montagna tutta di formaggio parmigiano grattugiato…’. Throughout the intervening centuries Parmigiano-Reggiano has continued to signify excellence.

Nowadays, European DOP (Dominazione di Origine Protetta) laws govern the Italian-produced cheese, which is the only iteration allowed to be named Parmigiano-Reggiano. The Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano enforces production norms and procedures to ensure the cheese’s quality. These regulations restrict the production Parmigiano-Reggiano to the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna and Mantua.[2] No other cheese, regardless of how it’s made and how it tastes, can be sold as Parmesan within the European Union. Thus — though similar in production, taste and texture to ParmigianoGrana Padano occupies a different, less-exclusive market as it requires a shorter aging period with production occurring throughout the pianura padana in Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna.[3] Currently, DOP labelling laws don’t impact American cheese makers who may freely name their cheeses ‘Parmesan’ to the consternation of Italian producers and lawmakers.

Parmesan Cheese ads

Although small American companies are increasingly delivering quality Parmesans, they do not reflect the general American conception of Parmesan. In 1945 Kraft introduced 100% Real Parmesan, which become an essential accompaniment to Italian food in America, appearing at so-called red sauce joints and grab-and-go pizza parlours. As the product’s early promotional materials demonstrate, the cheese allegedly heightened the authenticity of Italian dishes coming out of the American kitchen. In these ads, the Italian tricolour suggests a departure from the everyday meal, adding a veneer of exoticism over seemingly familiar pasta. The green plastic cylinder lost its cache as Marcella Hazan, Elizabeth David and Anna del Conte advocated for a more authentic Italian cuisine. Imported Parmesan, the DOP controlled Parmigiano-Reggiano, soon became the cheese of choice for tradition-oriented American cooks.

Most American-made Parmesan comes from Wisconsin-based Italian-American cheese companies, which capitalise on their connections to the Bel Paese to produce foodstuffs that mimic Parmigiano. Among the businesses that boast American-made Parmesan, the most widely available are Sarvecchio Parmesan — produced by Wisconsin-based Sartori Cheese — and Bel Gioioso’s Parmesan. And it’s the latter’s American Grana that is advertised as ‘World’s Best Parmesan.’

scaglie di parmigiano-reggiano

Examining Bel Gioioso’s ad for American Grana suggests that the company intentionally cites Parmesan to advocate for an American product influenced by Italian traditions. The 18-month aging of American Grana more closely resembles the maturation of a highly prized Parmigiano than does the company’s 10-month aged Parmesan, which is similar to Grana Padano. Why would Bel Gioioso choose to describe the cheese as Parmesan when the item’s name demonstrates otherwise? How does citing an Italian product while referencing America alter the consumer’s perception? How does Bel Gioioso manipulate Italian identity to their advantage? Bel Gioioso answers these questions in their vertical, half-page ad for American Grana.

Found among the pages of popular food periodicals in the United States, the ad for Bel Gioioso’s Grana weaves together Italian and American identities with familiar food imagery to appeal to the American consumer looking for an exotic product. The ad runs as a side bar in the back of American food-lifestyle magazines. Wisconsin Milk’s glossy, full-colour ads, found in the front of the magazine, overshadow Bel Gioioso’s basic graphics and simple serif font. Bold, black words grab the viewer’s attention, proclaiming ‘World’s Best Parmesan’. Above, a cheese still life validates Bel Gioioso’s audacious statement through its exotic undertones.

photo

The still life is composed of four portions: in the back sits a large half-wheel of American Grana, two small wedges — one shrink wrapped, one waiting to be cut — and some shards of cheese recline in the foreground. The half-wheel’s size, unconventional shape, familiar colour and smooth texture illustrate a cheese that is neither wholly American or Italian. While the dimensions could suggest American bounty, the half-wheel shape is a stranger to the American supermarket and cheese counter. If the wheel of cheese references generic Italian imagery, the recognizable symbol allows the viewer to connect their American self with the cheese’s apparently foreign identity. The cheese’s colour and texture introduce an American surface to the Italian shape. The golden hue diverges from the powdery white colour of Kraft’s ubiquitous grated Parmesan and the smooth, homogenous texture recalls industrial American cheddar. As presented in the sizeable half-wheel of American Grana, Bel Gioioso layers familiar and exotic symbols to assert that their cheese defies a binary Italian or American classification.

While the cheese’s shape introduces the interaction between Italian and American identities, the slices in the foreground portray an American manner of eating, cleaving Bel Gioioso’s Grana from the Italian-Parmigiano dialogue. The wedge — presumably cut from the wheel — may cite so-called artisanal American cheese, while the slim, shrink-wrapped triangle evokes supermarket packaging. Unlike the half-wheel’s thick rind — an Italianism alien to the American shopper accustomed to rind-less Pepper Jack and Swiss cheese — the wedge’s thin rind is delineated by a shadow. While the rind is pronounced in the packaged portion, the uniform colour and texture are maintained, dismissing foreign connotations. Thus, Bel Gioioso presents a cheese that, with its classic American image, becomes foreign through an Italian framework, as indicated in the Grana’s shape, name and process.

Yet, Bel Gioioso is careful to make sure the image remains exotic to the American supermarket shopper. In the foreground, large chunks of cheese — likely chiselled from the wedge or half-wheel — evoke Italian scaglie —shards cut from a hunk of Parmigiano. Typically cut with a granaio, Parmesan cheese knife, this manner of eating cheese requires an object and knowledge the American consumer likely lacks. Nestling this foreign symbol between familiar shapes reinforces the notion that American Grana describes an identity neither completely American nor Italian.

The neither/nor identity that arises through these mixed symbols is emphasized through the divergent cultural meanings of Grana and Parmesan. Although Italians recognize Grana Padano as a cheap, delicious alternative to Parmesan, it seems that Bel Gioioso illogically equates the two types, translating them through an American perspective. In this respect, Bel Gioioso presents American Grana as a product superior to mass-produced American Parmesan through its association with place and Italian knowledge. Neither the foodstuff nor the word Grana has entered the American vernacular. ‘American’ associates the cheese with a geographical entity, which may reference the regional importance of hyper local Parmigiano-Reggiano. Thus, Bel Gioioso’s product evades association with pre-grated Kraft. Emphasising place allows Bel Gioioso to transcend the quality differences between Parmesan and Grana while giving their product a sense of regionalism typically reserved for Italian products.

Grana Padano sign at Eataly Torino Lingotto

At the bottom, the company’s seal explicitly references the interaction between Italian and American traditions, developing the dynamic through translation. Green ribbons declaring ‘Classic Italian Cheeses Made in the USA’ in English and Italian flank a gold-framed oval with crisscrossed American and Italian flags in the centre. Beneath the seal, the instructive phrase ‘say bel-joy-oso’ blends into the beige background. With the interaction of Italian knowledge and American structure, the translation uses simple wording to help the viewer interpret ‘formaggi classici italiani fatti in America’. The seemingly direct parallel between the two language structures suggests that Italian and American cheese and identities can be linked with similar ease. While the Wisconsin cheese label in the bottom corner may be simply a bureaucratic obligation, it can also be seen as an illustration of how American space anchors the cheese’s cultural meaning. Bel Gioioso doesn’t make American cheeses, they make cheese in America filtered through Italian traditions.

Bel Gioioso’s ad for American Grana illustrates Parmesan cheese as a site for the negotiation of Italian and American identities. Parmesan has long served as a way for American consumers to interact with exotic Italian traditions. Ads for Kraft Grated Parmesan similarly illustrate the consumption and purchasing of Parmesan as an act of incorporating the Italian into the shopper’s every day American life. Still today, many American expect Parmesan, including Parmigiano-Reggiano, to be available grated. As the naming, production and movement of cheese is contested in the EU, with implications for American producers, it pays to give a closer examination to the points where these seemingly divergent traditions intersect. Only through reflection on this dynamic can cheese producers and lawmakers gain insight into cheese and identity.

[1] Berti, A., Canvari, M., and King, R. P. 2005. The supply chain for Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in the United States. Food, Agriculture and the Environment: Economic Issues, [online]. Available at: <https://www.academia.edu/2722756/The_supply_chain_for_Parmigiano-Reggiano_cheese_in_the_United_States&gt; [Accessed 28 January 2015].

[2] Riley, G., 2007. ‘Parmesan’. In: The Oxford Companion to Italian Food. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 361-365.

[3] Riley, G., 2007. ‘Grana Padano’. pp. 235-237.

 

On cook books, common sense and Lidia Bastianich

The title reads Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking, but the cover picture seems illogical. On the left are some cracked egg shells with the eggs in the centre front and a near-full open carton on the right. Lidia isn’t pictured, but the matronly hands reinforce her presence. This image inducts the cook into Lidia’s brand of Italian ‘common sense’.

At first glance, Commonsense stands apart from Bastianich’s other books. There is no dust jacket. The image is printed directly on the cover, which is divided into two distinct textures. The bottom is matte and slightly bumpy, like a child’s primer. The top, with the photo, has a high-gloss finish. These attractively juxtaposing surfaces invite the shopper to touch the book, their tactile experience transitioning the potential cook from observer to participant. This action mirrors the relationship that Bastianich wants the reader to have with the recipes, ‘these recipes are not written in stone. They are meant to be a guide’(Bastianich, xix). Both the cook and the reader should personalise their experience of Commonsense: the former should add their own inflections to the dishes, the latter should impose their own face onto the book’s images and ideologies. When the individual combines these two perspectives, they enter into Bastianich’s world and assume her logic as their own.

If the reader/cook should customise their interaction with Commonsense and its recipes, Bastianich’s other books are portrayed as overtly hers and, consequently, not open to alterations. The covers of these books give Lidia the authority to be challenged by contextualizing her within the symbolic realm of Italian food. Whether offering up an abundant plate of spaghetti al pomodoro or standing proudly over a kitchen table, her body language illustrates her command. Possessive titles, such as Lidia’s Italy in America and Lidia’s Family Table, reinforce her dominion over these spaces and items. Commonsense cannot blatantly assert the same possession because Bastianich cannot own ‘Italian cooking’. Yet, Lidia doesn’t give up her knowledge as quite so easily. In her foreward she discusses how her history in the kitchen has given her the authority to teach the reader about common sense, ‘it is all about Grandma’s kitchen table … I decided I never wanted to leave that table, but stay close to it for the rest of my life. And so I remained in the kitchen.’ (Bastianich, xv). This tale imbues Bastianich with ‘authenticity’: of family, of eating, of time and of space. Food may not be mentioned, but the meals within the pages become signs of these ideas. Combined, these images, titles and introduction illustrate Bastianich as a kitchen authority without the fuss of restaurants and complicated recipes.

While this most recent book continues the tone of her previous works, the cover suggests that this volume presents cooking as a step in development of a greater whole rather than as a completed action. Unlike a family-sized plate of pasta or table piled with heirloom tomatoes, the food presented on Commonsense is not ready for consumption. Although eggs could be eaten raw, cultural conditioning means Bastianich’s American audience won’t see a just-cracked egg and think of food. Unlike rich pasta and ripe tomatoes, there is no temptation. Yet the egg communicates a message that a finished pasta dish cannot: it requires the reader to transform the raw ingredient into a tempting dinner by integrating into Lidia’s common sense.

Reading the image from left to right illustrates a ‘progression’ from cracked egg, to yolk and white, to carton full of eggs. Evidently, this pattern is not temporal. Instead, the movement from left to right show an increase in numbers; Lidia’s common sense concerns addition. Starting from the left the image presents: one cracked egg, two parts of the egg (yolk and white), three eggs waiting to be cracked, four empty spots in the carton and plenty of whole eggs. Bastianich emphasises addition’s importance in the introduction, ‘don’t be afraid to make substitutions. Don’t be afraid to add or subtract’ (Bastianich, xix). Although substitution and subtraction result in an equal or lesser number of ingredients, they add the cook’s personal inflection and can thus be seen as an addition. This horizontal analysis suggests that Commonsense argues for cooking as a passage from fewer variances to more.

Examining both portions of the cover together suggests that these additions aren’t actually up to the reader, but up to Lidia. If the upper half of the cover represents the book’s assertion — that cooking is about addition — Lidia’s name in 72 point font on the bottom half implies that these additions belongs to her. The font size allows Lidia to own the space on the cover that she doesn’t in the title. Yet the portion of the cover she occupies is also notable. Away from the corners, the reader’s eye is drawn directly to Lidia, allowing her name to provide meaning for the entire cover. Since her name is connected to the picture of logic, the common sense doesn’t come from the cook, it comes from Lidia.

Although the title emphasises Lidia, the line separating the authors from the title suggests that Bastianich the author and Lidia the cook are two separate characters. Existing at the bottom of the image and easy for the eye to skip, the bar implies that the names contained below do not negate and do not assert. After writing, Bastianich does not engage in the dialogue of Commonsense. Yet the italicised ‘and’ in the bottom left hand corner raises doubt as to Bastianich’s initial involvement with the book and its common sense. At the very bottom of the cover is her daughter’s name, a Bastianich as well, placed out of the way so as to not interfere with Lidia’s additions. Ultimately, Lidia the character, and her additions, guides the cook toward the proper use of Commonsense.

All this serves to present Lidia’s interpretation of the non-traditional cookbook. Despite Commonsense’s claim to encourage the cook to alter a recipe according to their tastes and refrigerator contents, the head notes clarify that the variations have already ocurred in Bastianich’s test kitchen. When describing a mozzarella and celery salad she notes that the non-traditional ingredients, ‘[are] a fresh and tasty alternative. Especially in the winter months, when tomatoes are not at their best’. While the alternative ingredient — celery as opposed to tomatoes — reinforces the importance of substitution, the switch is already completed and codified event. The incorporation and naming of the new into the recipe title suggests that common sense exists outside of the amateur cook’s kitchen and resides inside professional space. Like myriad other contemporary cookbooks that claim to stir up a new world of cooking and eating[1], Commonsense uses pre-changed recipes to fashion a false world of gastronomic innovation.

If Commonsense belongs to the self-mastering guide genre, the book allows Bastianich to tap into the foodie atmosphere and expand her empire. The absence of a dust jacket may be unique for the Lidia canon, but matches cookbooks such as Silver Spoon, Momofuku and Plenty. But the physical appearance is a small token of the trend that promotes DIY titles like Commonsense. As cooking is increasingly seen as a way to save oneself and family from the ravages of the industrial food system, and the problems that come with it, the number of cookbooks promising to give readers the keys to good, everyday cooking increases. Yet these books must necessarily withhold ingredients and techniques to preserve their mystique and enable the market for cookbooks to continue. Without home cooks seeking to find inspiration and new recipes, the cookbook publishing industry would be severely limited. Commonsense demonstrates this tension well. The reader is encouraged to contribute their perspective, encouraged to touch and understand the supposedly unique brand of logic presented within its covers. At the same time, the division of knowledge, codified alterations and subtly illustrated logic division prevent the cook from fully mastering these recipes. Ultimately, its Lidia’s own knowledge and teachings that make Commonsense the logical trendy step for the Bastianich brand.

[1] ‘Buvette is more than a place; it’s also a feeling and an idea. It’s a way to cook, entertain, and live. It’s a recipe for living more meaningfully.’ (Buvette) ‘Cooks should be taught not only how to replicate but also how to innovate’ (The Secret Recipes)

On translation and ‘Indietro’

The funny thing about the internet is that you can try to force it into poignant moments but the durability of what you post makes it wonderfully awkward.  This post is scheduled to go up at 9:15 am EST on 29 May 2014, exactly the moment when I begin my last exam of university.  But you could be reading it at 10:45 am on that same day, when I’m scheduled to finish it.  Or, perhaps, we’ve jumped into the future by a month, a year or more and you’re laughing at my rampant nostalgia.

But I can’t let this moment go by without some form of awkward, public acknowledgement.  So I give you Tiziano Ferro’s ‘Indietro’.  I first heard the song during a trip to Italy in 2009.  The trip that made me fall in love with the country.  I proceeded to listen to it all year long, allowing it to fuel me through AP exams and remind me what I was working for.  Now I listen to it, allowing it to motivate me once again, but hearing it in a completely new way.

While the song has remained the same during these past 5 years, my relationship with it has profoundly and dramatically changed.  When I first heard it, it sounded pretty.  Now when I listen to it I hear Tiziano Ferro saying ‘l’amore va veloce e tu stai indietro’.  Not only do I hear it, I understand it.

And with that, let’s get to work.

Scenes from Eataly New York

Lidia Bastianich sauces at Eataly

Eataly New York seems designed to be an Italian-style nightmare.  From the chaotic layout that shoves people together, to the none-sensesical division of various products, there’s nothing that makes sense about the store’s design.  As Eataly Turin Lingotto — which effortlessly directs foot traffic — proves, this issue isn’t endemic to the Eataly chain.  Neither is it endemic to New York buildings, as the comparatively well-designed Chelsea Market shows.  Rather it seems that Farinetti, Batali and Bastianich cleverly designed Eataly New York to build a screen of italianità, italian-ness, as it exists in the foreigner’s perception.

Although I’d previously shopped at Eataly in New York, I was interested in examining how the American version compared to the Italian one.  After all, it takes a few visits to the supermarket  to focus your thoughts on analysis as opposed to survival.

Polenta con fughi trifolati

The first stop was a meal.  Although the pizza/pasta and fish restaurants boasted a nearly hour-long, I was seated immediately at Verdure.  This discrepancy surprised me.  Most likely Eataly customers are either less eager to spend money on vegetables, don’t perceive vegetables as a sign of Italian food or vegetables in general don’t carry the same fetishized appeal as a ‘Vera Pizza Napoletana’ carries.  As soon as I sat down, a waitress came over with some bread wrapped up in a paper napkin and poured olive oil on a plate.  We weren’t in Italy any more.

While the design leave one frustrated, the menu leaves one perplexed.  Was it really necessary to add shiitake mushrooms?  Did the semolina gnocchi need a chili sauce?  What about the sweet vinegar over the polenta?  While the meals clearly relate to Italian food, they do not uphold the notion that ‘Eataly is Italy’.  Which begs the question: why do we visit Eataly?  Do we visit to buy ingredients, eat Italian food, confirm our notions about Italian food or for another reason altogether?

Prosciutto at Eataly
The check out, once you find it, begins to answer these questions.  Ice-filled trolleys with unfinished wood panelling boast the ubiquitous impulse purchases.  Rather than presenting tins of leone liquorice or venchi tartufi, you find packs of prosciutto and containers of mozzarella.  In Eataly New York, prosciutto and mozzarella attain meaning similar to small bottles of hand sanitizer and holiday-themed Reese’s eggs: you may not have come for them, but you can’t leave without them.

Eataly deserves more critical analysis. While there’s an interesting (though dry) article about Eataly’s consumer demographics in Italy, there’s little comparable journalistic writing.  The vast majority of articles about Eataly sing its praises because it’s unique and one of a kind.  It won’t be for long.  Eataly recently announced that they planned to open another location in New York.  A mexican-themed food market just opened and there are plans for a French-style emporium as well.  To what extent can we be entertained with gastro-tourism? This trend doesn’t seem likely to disappear anytime soon.  Though whether authenticity chooses to stop by is another question entirely.  Perhaps the one we should be thinking about.