“A bites and bites”, to discover the street food of the Lépine and Pontine districts

According to Roberto Campagna, writer and journalist, those on the street are all those foods that can be eaten without cutlery … bites and bites. This is the title of his latest book (Nuove Edizioni Aldine di Bevagna). It is a journey on the Lepini and in the Agro Pontino to discover these foods. The book, illustrated with photos by Alessandro di Norma, is the result of research carried out by the Campaign itself on behalf of the non-profit cooperative Utopia 2000 within the project “Convivium Monti Lepini – Symposiums, canteens, tables, productions , protagonists and knowledge History, art and food and wine cultures in the territory of Lepine ”of the Compagnia dei Lepini Street foods have very ancient origins: they were already consumed in the time of the Greeks and the Romans. And it was in ancient Rome that the custom of stuffing two slices of bread spread. And since then the sandwich has become the emblem of this eating habit. The name of Panisperna, the Roman road that became famous for the group of young Italian physicists who, at the Royal Institute of Physics of the University, together with Enrico Fermi, contributed to the discovery of slow neutrons which made it possible to build the first nuclear reactor, which apparently derives from “panis et perna”, that is, bread and ham, which the friars of the church of San Lorenzo in Panisperna used to offer to the poor on the feast day of the same saint. And bread and ham are among the street foods reported in this book. Two hams are described: that of Bassiano and the cotto of Cori. Street foods are widespread in all regions of Italy and the Lepini and Agro Pontino mountains are very rich in them. “The region of Lépine and the Province of Latina – wrote Quirino Briganti, president of the Compagnia dei Lepini in the presentation of the book – in addition to possessing an enormous artistic and naturalistic heritage, have foods that arouse suggestions, aromas and flavors, an expression of a thousand-year-old cultural heritage”. This territory, in addition to mountain products, such as Bassiano and Cori hams, buffalo sausages, cheeses, chestnuts and olives, also includes fish and vegetables. Regarding the latter, fried zucchini flowers, slices of watermelon and golden fried artichokes are three other of the twenty-eight “stops” of this tasty gastronomic journey. A course that reserves a respectable place for white art, especially confectionery. Speaking of sweets, only the most significant ones have been reported, with a story behind them, those that identify the place where they were born. On the other hand, pizzas, ice creams and certain fried foods such as supplì, croquettes, cod fillets and mozzarella en carrozza have been omitted, as they do not represent the territory: they are found everywhere. “Food – wrote Alessandro Di Norma in the photographic note – is history, ritual, tradition, it is a set of gestures characterized by habits that get lost in the most remote daily nodes, but jump, without too much effort, even in the current one, fast and ephemeral, linked to contemporary communication technologies. Photographing food has given life to a story of sensations that return and remain in the mind like centuries-old roots”. According to the FAO, street food is food that is prepared and sold on the streets specifically, in markets and fairs by street vendors. But they are now also found in certain places such as sandwich shops, piadineries or pubs, in kiosks or, for example, in the fraschette of the Castelli Romani.

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