#343 Traditional alimentation system of Sicily and its role in the nations identity

Coresponding author's contact details

First name Oxana Middle name D. Last name Fais-Leutskaia
Title PhDHistory, Senior Researcher Organization / Institution Russian Academy of Sciences Department Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology
Address Leninsky Pr., 32A Postal / Zip code 119991 Country RU
E-Mail Hidden Phone number Hidden Presenting author Yes

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Abstract title

Traditional alimentation system of Sicily and its role in the nations identity

Abstract text

The traditional Sicilian cuisine is one of the most conservative and peculiar in Europe. It retains unaltered some ancient alimentary matrices dating back to antiquity and early medieval times (which is evident from the recipes and the role of archaic sweets a legacy left by Arab dominance in 9-11c) and preserves in their pure form individual ethnic components of the local cuisine (Ancient Greek, Arab, Berber, Jewish, Spanish etc). This alimentary system, both festive and casual, has to this day not lost its class distinctions which originated in the Middle Ages, whereby each of the sub-cuisines represents a particular social class and is associated with certain traditions, restrictions and socially determined alimentary behaviour. Besides, the Sicilian alimentary system which involves consuming exclusively «prodotto nostrano» (our product) is among the most sustainable in Europe. Of all the Italian regional cuisines it is the least open to innovations and, conversely, tends to be extremely selective and adapt everything in the local style. As shown by author’s field studies conducted over many years, the preservation and reproduction of the local cuisine in the realm of tradition does not only take place automatically due to the conservatism of the Sicilian society, but is also encouraged by all social stratas which see the local alimentary system as a distinguishing feature of Sicilian uniqueness, a way to consolidate as a group, as well as the ground for contrasting Italy and Sicily and building self-identity as a nation («We are a nation because we have our cuisine»).

Conference topic

Panel no. 23 - Mediterranean Foodscapes: (New) Models of Sociability and Sustainability

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Abstract Review

This abstract was reviewed on 2021-01-04 15:02h by jelenaivanisevic

Reviewer decision