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The Genius of Cucina Povera

The Genius of Cucina Povera

We live in a world with copious food waste: every year, one third of food is thrown away. That’s more than 1.3 billion tons of edible food wasted annually. And yet, 800 million people around the globe are starving.

Resolve to make a difference: eat everything, waste nothing, and spend less.

At Eataly, we find inspiration in cucina povera, the no-waste “poor cooking” tradition from rural Italy. From bruschetta to biscotti, many of the most ingenious products and dishes that we savor today were invented out of necessity by peasants over hundreds of years, who made the most of simple ingredients available.

Prosciutto was first seasoned and cured to make ham last through the long, cold winters. Stretching a loaf of bread over a few days led to delicious dishes like bruschettaribollita, and panzanella. Biscotti? These iconic cookies were "twice cooked" because they would last longer, not (just) because Tuscans loved the crunch. Nothing edible was ever, ever tossed out.

In other words: we can thank these centuries of cucina povera traditions for today's  regional Italian cuisine that we all love!

Are you ready to rethink food? Check out the new film WASTED! The Story of Food Waste. Produced by Zero Point Zero Films and Anthony Bourdain, the film exposes the magnitude of the problem on a global scale, while showing simple changes we can all make to eat more and waste less. WASTED! features many of Eataly's frequent chef collaborators (and heroes!), including Dan BarberMassimo Bottura, and our own U.S. partner Mario Batali.

wasted poster