Back to Course Listings

ENG / FSST 358: Writing Italian Food


  • This course was formerly CWFS 350

Course Description

This exciting class combines the history and customs of food, olive oil, and wine in Perugia and the surrounding region, with food writing and travel. We’ll start by exploring a small portion of the history of Italian food and wine, with a specific focus on Perugia and the wider Umbrian area. Through readings, discussions, participant observation, conversations, and interviews with local food producers, tour operators, and writers, we will learn how the world is interconnected via our traditions and culture around food. Additionally, we will discuss the effects of globalization, and how that all is reflected back into daily life, food (and other consumable) choices, as we examine subjects as diverse as the origin of pasta and how it carries with it cultural identity, the tradition of the aperitivo, the arrival of coffee in Italy along with its subsequent growth in popularity and its effect on religion and education, the slow food and natural food movements, and more.

In conjunction with this historical approach, the class includes visits to restaurants, vineyards, cheese-makers, and olive groves in and near Perugia.

The writing portion of the class will focus on: the elements of good writing; the crafting of an effective and compelling article; techniques and special skills specific to writing about food; techniques and approaches to research papers; and the areas of publication for online and print venues for those who are interested.

Course Objectives
The purpose of this class is to introduce you to the intricate and surprising history of regional foods in Italy as you learn the importance of food as a mode of identity-formation in Perugia, Italy, and, by extrapolation, your own families. Our focus on writing and the analysis of others’ written word will teach you how to become not just great food writers, but informed and discerning writers in general.

Course Material
Available electronically, and as a course reader for those interested; links will be provided in the course syllabus.