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The Genius of Cucina Povera

The Genius of Cucina Povera

Today, we live in a world of 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.

Want to do your part? 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, such as 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.

Ready to bring cucina povera to your kitchen? Check out our no-waste guide to eating veggies "from root to shoot."

spring produce