Italian cuisine meets Iranian art in an exclusive illustrated cooking book: Cento Sapori Italiani, Cento Illustrazioni Iraniane (One Hundred Italian Flavours, One Hundred Iranian Illustrations), is a selection of some of the best examples of Italian culinary traditions, drawn by a group of young illustrators from Iran.
Born as a an artistic reflection influenced by the union of territory-history-testing-transformation, identified as a constituent element of the Italian culinary heritage, the book is at the moment available only in Iran: whether you like food or art, FDL gives you the possibility to enjoy some of the images made by the talented Iranian artists in the gallery at the top of the page.
We also asked Ali Boozari, Tehran-based illustrator and project's coordinator, to tell us more about this unexpected mix.
How and when was the project born?
One day it came to my mind that Iranian illustrations and Italian cuisine are both very famous all over the world, and it would have been a good combination. We have chosen 100 Italian recipes, based on the materials we were able to find in Tehran. Then I invited 20 professional Iranian illustrators and one Italian illustrator to participate: we held a book launch in Iran at Iranian Artists' Forum in 2008 and just hosted in Florence, Italy, at Pitti Taste with the Matite in brodoshow, curated by Felicetta Ferraro.
How Italy and Italian cuisine are currently perceived by Iranian people? Is there any differences compared to the past?
In the past, Iranian only cooked pasta with tomato sauce and meat: this food, which we can entitle "Italian dish, Iranian style", was quite overcooked and completely far from what you can name it Italian.Today Iranians are becoming more familiar with real Italian recipes by reading this book and going more and more to Italian restaurants, which have recently opened in Iran. At least, my friends, who come to my house as guests, are getting used to Italian foods!
In recent times interest on food burst worldwide, from magazines to blogs, from books to TV shows. Is it the same in Iran?
I am monitoring a lot of blogs, books and TV shows in Farsi (the official language of Iran). Several restaurants and coffee shops, which served foreign countries' cousins, opened in last 10 years in Iran. Also a lot of good training courses are available in Iran. Of course I believe that still the best way of culinary training is from mother to daughter.
Why is food attracting so much interest, in your opinion?
I think the process of making food is quite enjoyable and wonderful. [The] kind of creation which makes other people happy and [the] kind of art which involves all senses: taste, vision, smell and touch. The good and colorful shapes and stomachic smell of food can stimulate your appetite and, finally, you complete your joy by feeling the taste and the texture of the food in your mouth.You can always have a memorable evening by cooking for your friends. The worst part of all parties is the last part, when everybody becomes full and hurries away from the table, leaving you and a lot of dirty dishes alone. All people, who were volunteers for preparing the food, will be vanished in a second.