Italian Canadians At Table
Edited by Delia Santis & Loretta Gatto-White
The persistence of misconceptions about Italian-Canadian food culture raises many questions for us. Are we gluttonous, inebriate and too loud? Do we force-feed guests? Are we in fact food-obsessed? How many grains of truth can a stereotype hold? We had to know, so we asked articulate ... Read more
The persistence of misconceptions about Italian-Canadian food culture raises many questions for us. Are we gluttonous, inebriate and too loud? Do we force-feed guests? Are we in fact food-obsessed? How many grains of truth can a stereotype hold? We had to know, so we asked articulate and thoughtful Italian-Canadian writers and simpatico friends from British Columbia to Newfoundland. The responses were surprising, thoughtful, entertaining and often touching, making my co-editor, Delia De Santis, and I very glad we asked, as every piece which streamed over the internet's ether was a gift and a joy to read. And the result is Italian Canadians at Table, a passionate literary feast of poetry and prose.
Delia De Santis’ short story collection Fast Forward and Other Stories was published in 2008. She is the co-editor of the anthologies Sweet Lemons, Writing Beyond History, Strange Peregrinations, and Sweet Lemons 2.
Loretta Gatto-White is a native of Toronto and former educator turned food writer, blogger, photographer and freelance journalist. Her essays and poetry have appeared in several anthologies.
Italian Canadians at Table is not the literary equivalent of fast food grabbed at the drive-though, pulled into the car and gobbled behind the wheel. The reader of this fare needs to sit and leisurely enjoy. It is food for the mind, full of simple, essential philosophical, spiritual, historical and social truths. It is serious writing about real food but it will often make you quietly laugh the way tasty food makes you smile. Read this book to increase your vocabulary, whet your appetite and awaken your creative juices.
— Sheldon Currie (author of The Glace Bay Miners’ Museum)
Italian Canadians at Table gathers a community of writers devoted to sharing the tastes of home. Lush, passionate, occasionally ribald – these varied essays will whet your appetite for food and story.
— Valerie Compton, author of Tide Road and CBC Literary Awards Judge.
And she said: “I will tell you how much I love you . .. Mangia, mangia. ” And I will tell you how much I love this book . .. “Leggerlo! leggerlo!” And if you are among the unloved and underfed I will translate: “Read This Book!!”
— Barry Callaghan
I relished each of the poems, short stories, excerpts and essays that from this collection, immersing myself into each delightful anecdote, relating very closely to much of that which is scripted among the five courses in this literary feast. The universal bond that food creates is truly amazing, though I was not familiar with any of the authors I felt a connection to so many of them based on their narrations of nutriment.
— Fables & Focaccia
Food memories are some of the most resilient because they touch all of our five senses, so food can bring comfort in the form of the good memories it elicits. The essays take the form of biography, memoirs, poetry, anecdotes, even songs. The authors often relate how they felt as children, compared to how they feel today about their relatives' generosity when it came to food and the house-guest. Shame has been replaced by understanding, amusement, and even pride. There is a recognition that the attempt to keep up childhood-learned food rituals are actually a way to remember who one is, and where one came from.
— Italophile Book Reviews
The preparation of Italian food and its sharing becomes a way of strengthening bonds, creating friendships and remembering the past. The short stories and poems about food present Italian generosity, Italian warmth and the fascination with traditions as well as a certain openness to anything new. Tales of longing, of remembrance, of nostalgia, of admiration or of great amusement are gathered in this book which is both a culinary and intellectual feast reflecting identity within the immigration context.
— Marilena Dracea