One of the best things about living in America is all of the different food options. Even in the most suburban areas of the Midwestern states, you can find Thai, Brazilian, Mexican, Greek, Mongolian barbecue, and, of course, Italian food. Unfortunately, a lot of times when you try this foreign fare, you’re not getting the authentic experience. Many world cuisines become “Americanized” when restaurateurs set up shop, so as not to scare away any potential customers. However, you can still find authentic foreign food if you look hard enough. Even something as ubiquitous in America as Italian cuisine has its more traditional places, like Calabria’s Restaurant.
Traditions of Italian Cooking
When Americans think of Italian cooking, they tend to gravitate toward the stereotypes: pizza, of course, is a given. You also have the countless images in American media of jovial, mustachioed men in chef’s hats singing loudly as they bring you a plate of what else but some kind of pasta piled high on the plate and smothered in the expected red sauce. Perhaps lasagna comes to mind when you think of Italian food. The point is that while these three types of dish are certainly of the Italian canon of cuisine–and are definitely delicious–they merely scratch the surface of the vast tradition that is Italian cooking. Italy, you must remember, is a peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea – so named because, at that time, it was literally in the middle of the known world. Moreover, you have Rome, which was essentially the capital of the known world, the New York or London of its day. A vast empire, located in the middle of the known world, which stretches from country to country and culture to culture is going to see a lot of different cooking traditions from its diverse roster of citizens. Italian cooking today has descended from the convergence of all of these different styles. Each region has its own style of cooking, influenced by the type of agriculture found in that region and the area’s own cross-cultural influences. For example, the north of Italy is considered prime cattle country. As a result, you see a lot of butter-based sauces or cream sauces in places like Milan and Turin. Proximity to France has no doubt been an influence in that regard as well. In the south of Italy–places like Sicily and Napoli–temperatures are warmer and are better for the cultivation of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. Olive oil is a big deal in the south, as well as fish, given that the area is right at the tip of the boot-shaped peninsula. For each different region of Italy, there are hundreds of different dishes, each one unique and each one delicious.
Try It All
If you think you love Italian cuisine based on the dishes you’ve already tasted, wait until you sample the menu at a place that can honestly offer authentic Italian food, such as Calabria’s Restaurant. Whether you’re in the mood for grilled fish, a hearty lasagna, or a risotto Milanese, an Italian restaurant which focuses its energy on authenticity will be able to provide you a sort of gustatory passport to the “The Boot.” Try an old favorite or try something new. With authentic Italian food, it’s a safe bet that you’ll enjoy everything on the menu.