World Chefs: Cookbook digs into Italian-American cuisine

Tue Jan 3, 2012 5:17pm EST
 
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Chef, restaurateur and television personality Lidia Matticchio Bastianich built a career by conveying authentic, regional Italian food to American audiences.

Her eighth book, "Lidia's Italy in America," gathers 175 recipes from the dishes served in the many Italian neighborhoods across the United States, from the deep-dish pizza of Chicago to the Muffuletta sandwich of New Orleans.

Bastianich, who lives in Long Island, New York, spoke to Reuters about Italian-American cooking and how through their cuisine Italian-Americans proudly honor their homeland, even as they create something new.

Q: Why did you write this book?

A: "In the 20 years that I have been preparing regional Italian food I noticed that Italian-American food was thriving all over America. I began to understand these Italian-Americans still felt very Italian. I thought, 'this is a vibrant story. It's part of the way America evolved'."

Q: How much of the Italian-American food in your book is actually Italian? How much American?

A: "You might find maybe five or 10 percent of this Italian-American food being cooked in Italy. So you could say it is not Italian and it is not. Italian-American is an adaptation of the Italian immigrants. It's more a part of Americana."

Q: What's the biggest difference between Italian cuisine and Italian-American cuisine?   Continued...

 
<p>Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, the author of "Lidia's Italy in America" is pictured in this 2011 handout. Chef, restaurateur and television personality Lidia Matticchio Bastianich built a career by conveying authentic, regional Italian food to American audiences. Her eighth book, "Lidia's Italy in America," gathers 175 recipes from the dishes served in the many Italian neighborhoods across the United States, from the deep-dish pizza of Chicago to the Muffuletta sandwich of New Orleans. REUTERS/Diana DeLucia/Handout</p>