Never before we talked so much about food and about cooking. The modern bourgeois cuisine in almost two centuries has built and guarded the values of a civilization of the table who led the Western world, but abandoned by a middle class fell into ruin – with the lifestyles and the economy that distinguished – its kitchen is wrecked.
The cultural space vacated by the eclipse of the modern bourgeoisie is occupied by a creative explosion of a new cooking. A postmodern and post-Western society, liquid and fragmented, in our time designs, delivers and imposes new foods, kitchens, places and ways of feeding, arousing enthusiasm, doubts, fears and rejection.
In this book we try to discover the deeper aspects of a new cooking that we are living – complex phenomenon –, what is the way to eat of a society, and how the kitchens die, are transformed and reborn in new forms.
Giovanni Ballarini (John B. Dancer) taught as a professor from 1953 to 2003 at the University of Parma, of which he is now an Emeritus Professor. He has been awarded a Honorary Degree from the University of Athens, a Gold Medal for the worthy exponents of the School, Culture and Art fields from the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Italy and the Ordre du Mérite Agricole from the Republic of France. Both on his own and in collaboration with numerous students of his – many of whom hold university chairs – he has carried out intensive scientific research in a number of different fields, achieving important, original results documented in over 900 publications and numerous books. He has shown interest in history, zoo-anthropology and human diet, with a particular focus on anthropological aspects. In this latter sector, also under the pseudonym John B. Dancer, he has published several books in recent years on food anthropology. He continues to carry out intense informative activity, contributing to national newspapers and taking part in television programmes. He is President of the Italian Academy of Cuisine and the “Franco Marenghi” Study Centre, and won the Scanno Award for Food of the University of Teramo in 2005.