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The Assimilation Of Culture And Maintenance Of Ethnic Identity In The Italian American Community

2918 words - 12 pages


Italian immigrants migrated into the US together with many of their Europeans neighbors. When they first came to US most of the migrants had a very hard life. Arriving in a new country, the Italian migrants mostly had very little money and had no idea of their new place apart from US being the land of opportunity. The lack of resources and contacts in the new country prompted many of these immigrants to settle down in the place the first set down.

These immigrants came from various parts of Italy they were scattered all around the US. This paper will look at the common menu of those Italian migrants and look at how it has involved in the community that is now known ...view middle of the document...

Common menu of the first generation Italian American

The Italian immigrants that migrated to the United States came from many parts of Italy. They originated from states such as Sardinia, Sicily and Naples. The geographical factor causes the type of materials available to each region to be different. The different cooking material available to the regions means each region has its own tradition and food pattern.

Naturally someone that migrates tends to bring together his or her norms from original country to make the transition easier. The Italians were no different they as they settled down in states such as New York city, Boston and Philadelphia they still try to maintain their roots and consume food that they usually consume back at home. (the Italian American) This led to the Italian migrant community to have such a diverse eating pattern but however, the dominance of migrants from certain region had caused the control of food distribution network by certain regional groups in the US led to a common pattern in the immigrant population.(1984 150)

The study of what Italian migrants consume are pioneered by dieticians that are interested to study the relationship between ethnicity and the unhealthy diet amongst people that migrate into America. Initially it was believed that these immigrants the Italian in particular consume too many carbohydrates and do not consume enough proteins. This is understandable especially if we look at well-known Italian dishes such as the pasta and the Italian bread.

This believe however cannot be entirely be agreed upon. A study by a dietician in New Haven Connecticut (King 1935) provides us with information regarding the menu cycle of the Italian migrants. The cycle of the common menu amongst the Italian American points to a very interesting pattern. There were another study being done after the first study. The second the study was conducted by Nizzardini and Joffe and their study again concluded that there is a common meal pattern in the Italian migrant community. This provides a basis of argument for the menu chosen in this essay. This essay accepts the variability of the Italian American community but will assume the most common cycle of menu as the menu consumed by the Italian American community as a whole.

G. Goode, Karen Curtis and Janet Judith Theophano argued that the Italian American menu can be described in terms of item and pattern.

“ The Italian American diet described in the literature can be described in terms of item and in terms of pattern. Items frequently emphasized include macaroni, greens, tomatoes poultry, fish, fruit, Italian bread, cheese, olive oil, wine and coffee. Meat and fish were used in small quantities-simmered with tomato sauce and fried. Shellfish were sautéed in oil and garlic or streamed in a tomato sauce. Roast chicken could be served as a main dish. A ‘one pot’ meal was characteristic of this dietary pattern. Combinations of vegetables and...

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