Food in Italy
Food in Italy is often good. The ingredients grow well in the warm climate and there is an abundance of different colours and varieties. In restaurants the meals are generally cooked from fresh ingredients with tried and tested recipes. There is a tendency to over indulge in carbohydrates but in fact the abundance of locally grown vegetables, herbs and of course olive oil means that meals are delicious and can be healthy. Italian recipes are straightforward and use few ingredients relying on the combination of a few tastes to deliver flavour.
The Pioppi Diet
Ancel Keys, an American scientist in the 1960s, discovered that people from areas around the Mediterranean lived longer and had fewer heart problems. He chose Pioppi, a small seaside village just down the coast from Capalia, to conduct a major experiment into the eating habits of the locals. He revealed that this Mediterranean Diet, based on an abundance of vegetables, some fish, pulses, very little meat, some grains and abundant olive oil, was at the root of the good health and longevity of the local population. The Mediterranean diet is not a list of rules but rather a way of eating.
Good food and longevity
The old people of Pollica, Pioppi and other local villages have been shown to live longer and be in better health than their peers in other places and all this (probably) due to their excellent Mediterranean Diet.
Articles, in The Telegraph and The Independent, talked about the numerous 100 year olds in the Cilento
My mother is from southern Italy and was a willing and prodigious cook. As a child there was always something cooking and my favourite memories as a teenager involve doing my own stuff in my room enveloped by the security and comfort of the aromas that were coming from the kitchen announcing that soon it would be ‘ready’ (or “pronto” as she would shout at home).
At the end of the summer holidays we would drive back to Britain with a car laden full of all the things that were difficult to find or ludicrously expensive in London in the 70s and 80s. Good pasta (De Cecco), parmesan, wine and lots of olive oil. Vegetables of course wouldn’t last the 3 day trip otherwise my parents would have stuffed the car full of tomatoes, fennel, courgettes and aubergines. We don’t need to do this anymore as all those ingredients are in the shops now. Except for olive oil of course – we bring back our own produce now.
There are recipes on our blog that can be tried anywhere - I like simple, fairly quick recipes that have a just enough ingredients to make them tasty but not so many that you need a cupboard full of jars to get the basic taste.
If you are in the Cilento region, we have ideas for food and local restaurants on our blog, posted as we come across them ourselves.