The Italian Cultural Institute of Montreal and the Association of Italian Canadian Writers (AICW), as part of a webinar series dedicated to writing, an experience animated by Italian-Canadian authors, translators, journalists, publishers and bloggers, are pleased to present, “Can you smell the garlic? Writing About Italian-Canadian Food Culture”.
Tuesday September 8, 2020, 5:00 pm EST
Nonna stirs tomato sauce bubbling in a cauldron in the garage, papa proudly pours a glass of his homemade wine, aunties gather to make taralli and biscotti in the basement kitchen… These culinary traditions are a treasure trove of material for the Italian-Canadian writer. How does nostalgia effect the relationship to food and writing about food? Push past the clichés, what complicates the rosy Mama Bravo and Chef Boyardee images? Is it more difficult to write in a critical or unsentimental mode about food and Italian-Canadian identity? Domenico Capilongo, Monica Meneghetti, Cristina Pepe and Jim Zucchero will read mouth-watering prose and poetry and talk about the connections between food and their writing. The webinar will be moderated by former restaurant critic, Francesca M. LoDico. The series is hosted by the Secretary of the AICW Executive, Giulia Verticchio.
Domenico Capilongo was born when rotary telephones came in multiple colours, used a typewriter in high school and his earliest poems were printed on a dot-matrix printer. His first books of poetry, I thought Elvis was Italian and Hold the note, as well as his first book of short fiction, Subtitles, came very close to winning awards and were all mailed in the post. A high school creative writing teacher and karate instructor, Domenico lives with his wife and children in Toronto.
Monica Meneghetti’s first book, What the Mouth Wants: A Memoir of Food, Love and Belonging, won the Bi Book Award and was a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Her translation from Italian of Simone Moro’s The Call of the Ice: Climbing 8000-Meter Peaks in Winter was a Banff Mountain Book Award finalist. She teaches writing and offers manuscript development services with a focus on supporting marginalized voices. Monica lives on unceded traditional Coast Salish territories (Vancouver).
Cristina Pepe writes an art and culture blog, Un po’ di pepe, which often features Italian culinary culture and gastronomic traditions. She is a two-time winner of the Accenti Photo Contest and a member of the AICW Executive. She was born in Orsara di Puglia and immigrated to Canada with her parents as a toddler. A Vancouver-based educator and visual artist, Cristina loves to travel to Italy every year.
Jim Zucchero is the co-editor of Reflections on Culture, an anthology of Italian-Canadian writing. He has published creative non-fiction and essays about the Canadian National War Memorial and Italian-Canadian writers. He is an academic counsellor and teaches writing and Canadian Studies at King’s University College (UWO). Jim lives in London (Ontario) where he loves to cook Italian dishes for his wife and two children, walk Ringo and play in garage bands.
Francesca M. LoDico edited the Zagat restaurant surveys of Montreal and was the restaurant critic for Montreal’s Hour. She co-created World Bites, a television series about Canadian ethnocultural traditions, and was a food columnist with CBC Radio. Her work has appeared in PEN International, Canadian Geographic, enRoute and Maisonneuve. Francesca received the Accenti Writing Award and has been shortlisted for the PRISM International Short Fiction Prize.
Giulia Verticchio is a newscaster at CFMB Radio, a journalist at the weekly Cittadino Canadese and an Italian language teacher. Born in Rome, she studied in Italy, France and England before moving to Canada for an internship at the Italian Cultural Institute of Montreal. She holds master’s degrees from Università di Roma Tre and UQAM. Giulia is Secretary of the AICW Executive.