SBS present Eating History: Italy a brand new series highlighting the very best in Italian food - think steaming plates of pasta, mozzarella-laden pizzas, mouth-watering milk-fed lamb and dripping artichokes alla giudia. These culinary delights and a thousand other lip-smacking dishes are not just a delight for the palate; they are also the key to Italy's history, with its unique blend of creative genius, bloodshed, passion, intrigue, heroism and greed - all the elements that forge the identity of this magnificent country and its people.
In this series, John Dickie, the charismatic and enthusiastic historian whose best-selling Delizia! The Epic History of the Italians and their Food provides the basis for the series, takes a romp through Italy's past to reveal how much of it was actually shaped by its food. John will travel the length and the breadth of this fascinating Mediterranean land to uncover tales of woe and ambition at the dining table, of creative one-upmanship and scheming in the kitchen, of unbridled violence in the banquet hall and misery at the food stall.
The series travels back to the early days of the Roman Empire and shows how bread could topple regimes. It reveals the true origins of pasta, and the crucial role that a simple plate of maccheroni has often played in taming the mob. It shows how, in the Renaissance, lavish cuisine could determine a papal election, and how a banquet could mean life or death for an aristocratic dynasty. It demonstrates how public food spectaculars akin to gladiator games held many Italian cities in thrall in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It tells the story of how pizza was viewed as both disgusting and potentially life-threatening when it was invented. And it uncovers why Mussolini wanted everyone to eat rice, and how an American doctor put Italian food on its way to conquer the world.