In Search of Abundance: Mountains of Cheese, Rivers of Wine, and Other Gastronomic Utopias
Luisa Del Giudice, Independent Scholar
Folklorist Luisa Del Giudice presents In Search of Abundance (Bordighera Press, 2023), a volume that reviews four decades of her research about Italian immigrant foodways, from Sicilian American St. Joseph’s tavole (domestic altars), to wine culture in Toronto’s Italian community, to Italian food markets in Southern California. Central to the book is the myth of the gastronomic utopia known as il Paese di Cuccagna (the Land of Cockaigne), which Italian immigrants came to associate with America. Their enduring worldview helped them create domestic landscapes of plenty and contributed to the festivalization of the quotidian and reenactments of abundance. In writing both scholarly and personal, Del Giudice also ponders how the COVID-19 pandemic helped shift this multigenerational trauma discourse of scarcity and abundance and contributed to her involvement in food justice initiatives.