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Sicilian Food Today

Sicilian Food
History of Sicilian Food

Sicilian Pantry
Typical Sicilian Dishes

Sicilian Food III: Today

Tom Musco


Sicily has gained more autonomy from mainland Italy since the end of World War II, but it has also faced many obstacles – an intrusive bureaucracy, Mafia interference, lingering ties with a defunct feudal system, and devastating earthquakes – that have hampered progress and economic stability. To make ends meet many women now work outside of the home and depend on family (usually a grandmother) to look after the children. Yet urban Sicilians are struggling to hold onto traditional ways. Many prepare homemade meals and drive to the country to buy wine, olive oil, and fresh vegetables from local growers. Those with country houses often have a garden and preserve their harvest for year-round consumption.

Regardless of economic circumstances, all Sicilians consider food a priority; they demand quality and often, especially during holidays, turn a blind eye to cost. Most people prefer a very simple cuisine using the flavors that the bountiful surrounding seas and strong Sicilian sun provide. Pristinely fresh fish particularly tuna, swordfish, octopus, squid, sardines, and anchovies constantly serve as a mainstay of the diet. Tomatoes, ripened to perfection in the intense sunshine, have a powerful full-bodied taste unlike any others, and sauces made with them give distinctive flavor to many favorite pasta and meat dishes. Vine-ripened tomatoes are available most of the year, but they are also sun-dried for the months when they are not. Likewise, olives and grapes are extraordinarily flavorful, and, in recent years, fine Sicilian olive oils and wines have received coveted international prizes.

Part IV: Sicilian Pantry

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