A Beginner’s Guide to Authentic Italian Food

My great aunt back in her home town of Apice (BN).

What exactly is ‘authentic’ Italian food? It may be hard to define, but Italians know it when they taste it. To try to get to the bottom of this elusive question, I have written a three part series on the subject:

Part I: The Varieties of Italian Cooking

This post walks you through the principal types of Italian cooking you are likely to encounter from true Italian food, the kind they make in Italy, to Italian Diaspora cooking, which at its best has an authenticity all its own, to the more dubious ‘Italian-style’ cooking and just plain bad imitations.

To read the post, click here.

Part II: Learning to Tell Real Italian Food from Fake

This post gives you some pointers on where to go to learn about authentic Italian food, from the best books and online sources to TV shows, and lists some of the most common tell-tales signs of fakery.

To read the post, click here.

Part III: How to Cook Authentic Italian Food at Home

This posts gives you the skinny on how to recreate authentic Italian dishes at home. It’s much easier than you think, so long as you keep some basic pointers in mind. The post runs down how to choose and work with ingredients for authentic Italian flavors, and how to develop authentic Italian cooking techniques. To get the most out of this post, read it in conjunction with our pages on The Italian Pantry and Italian Food Culture.

To read the post, click here.

Once you’ve been through these posts, I can guarantee that you will have a very good idea of what it takes to cook and eat Italian food—the way it was meant to be enjoyed.

Buon appetito and happy cooking!

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10 Responses to “A Beginner’s Guide to Authentic Italian Food”

  1. 30 March 2014 at 14:25 #

    What a wonderful post. What is in the photo?

    • 2 April 2014 at 01:35 #

      They are making tomato paste the old-fashioned way, by drying it on boards in the sun. Taken in my grandmother’s native town of Apice.

  2. 12 December 2012 at 08:23 #

    What a great photo!

    • 13 December 2012 at 07:47 #

      Thanks! It’s taken in my grandmother’s home town.

  3. 1 November 2012 at 16:29 #

    Frank this is a great series. I’ve been wanting to address the same thing for Mexican food. Like you and Simona I too experience frustration with all the misconceptions. I could talk about it all day long, but I won’t:) Thanks for posting this!

    • 3 November 2012 at 03:10 #

      I agree with nancy! thanks a lots for sharing. somebody asked me the other day what authentic Italian food is and honestly I wasn sure what to say. I feel each region has their own style but at the heart one will recognize an real italian dish. i can say that for example of Austrian food and French food. Compared to austrian food german tastes differently and even if its just over the border, 20 km further down the river.

    • Anonymous
      5 December 2012 at 21:48 #

      Nancy, I would really enjoy your take on real vs fake Mexican food. Look forward to your post!

  4. 26 October 2012 at 11:07 #

    Congratulations on your new blog home.
    I must admit I get irritated when I see glaring mistakes or the spreading of misinformation.

    • 28 October 2012 at 18:54 #

      Thanks, Simona! The misinformation that’s out there can be so frustrating. But it’s important to keep the faith—and keep spreading good information!

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