Il mondo in un boccone
The World in a Meal - years 2003/2004
Each food has its own origin and history: the origin is the place where humans used it for the first time; the history deals with the diffusion and use of a food, also considering its nutritional value.
We don’t know much about the origin and the history of the foods laid out daily on our table and even fewer notions have we about the food in other countries worldwide.
To get to know the nutritional culture of a country means understanding the reasons which prompted the natives of a particular environment to use a specific resource and consequently it means studying the geography, the history, the social and economic development and the culture of that people.
In human history, getting together for a meal has always been of outstanding importance, both in a physical and in a symbolic sense: eating is not only getting nourishment, but is also evoking a relation, a particular aspect of a cultural tradition.
Food habits, the result of a long and difficult adjustment between needs, environment and culture may represent an example of the reciprocal influence between different traditions and a way to get in touch with other cultures.
This is the objective of the project The world in a meal, realized by the Department of Animal and Human Biology of the “Sapienza” University in Rome and the Department of Preventive Medicine of Migration, Tourism and Tropical Dermatology – San Gallicano in Rome and supported by the Council Department of Education and School Policies.
The project was addressed to the children attending kindergartens and primary schools in Rome. Ten posters were designed, one for each of the most represented emigration countries in Italy (Albania, China, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Philippines, Morocco, Peru, Poland and Romania). Each poster gave a short geographical, social and economical description, the nutritional features of everyday food, the cooking habits, the symbolic values, the festivities and curiosities related to food of the country concerned.
The cardboard posters, 50x70 cm, were gathered in a folder and in December 2003 every kindergarten, primary school and comprehensive institute in Rome received the folder.
In order to make the use of posters more effective as an educational tool for intercultural programmes, a five-session course was organized.. School workers have appreciated the initiative and 300 kindergarten educators, primary school teachers and nutritionists attended the course. In order to allow the participation of all the interested workers a second course was organized.
The first cycle took place on 10, 17 and 24 February and on 2 and 9 Mars 2004 in the Council Department of Education and School Policies.
The second cycle took place on 19 and 26 April and on 3, 5 and 17 May 2004 in the Anthropology Institute of the Department of Animal and Human Biology of the “Sapienza” University in Rome.
The seminars, coordinated by Paola Scardella, Sapienza University, and Aldo Morrone, NIHMP, dealt with the following themes:
- Health and migration
- Nourishment from a biological and cultural perspective
- Nourishment and migration
- Presentation of the posters and pedagogic suggestions
In our new social scenario, this work can give a contribution to issues of topical interest, the “praise” of diversity and the defence of cultural identity. These considerations are important for the present but even more for the future. All traditions, not only those related to the food, have been originated and moulded through the meeting, overlapping and melting of cultures. This can occur through clamorous events but even through apparently insignificant encounters and daily experiences which form the personal and collective identity of each people.
Download the Booklets (Italian)