Do you remember the space food of the late 1960s?
It was the
era of the Apollo spacecraft and the first moonwalk. The
world seemed to be propelled towards the future, destined to make
light years of progress, continually pushing the limits of what
was possible. We were told that the pills and dehydrated products
consumed by astronauts were the food of the future. They contained,
science assured us, all the essential protein, vitamins and minerals.
It was also the heyday of
fast food. Preparing and consuming food were becoming almost
a waste of time.
Do you remember how old-fashioned the culinary traditions of the
Italian immigrants seemed at the time? Making pasta by hand, stuffing
olives the way they did in Ascoli Piceno, preparing zucchini flowers
Sicilian style - it was all so time-consuming! And so many rules had
to be followed to ensure that the
be just right: the use of wooden spoons, earthenware dishes, a mortar
and pestle instead of a food processor . . . Bring on
But were those immigrants and their traditions really so out of
touch with the modern world? Were they not just showing us another
way to be modern: by exercising moderation, rather than taking off
for the moon, setting limits on change so that the world would remain
human? Now, several decades later, many of us see it that way and,
like those immigrants, are rediscovering, preserving or reinventing
a way of life
that cultivates flavour and the joy of eating.