Pasta and pizza, in all their infinitely delicious and universally appealing varieties, are inextricably connected to Italian identity. These familiar foods not only represent Italy’s culinary traditions, according to anthropologist Franco La Cecla, they have unified the Italian people and spread Italian culture worldwide. Pasta and Pizza tells the story of how cuisine born in the south of Italy during the Arab conquest became a foundation for the creation of a new nation. As La Cecla shows, this process intensified as millions of Italians immigrated to the Americas: it was abroad that pasta and pizza became synonymous with being Italian, and the foods’ popularity grew as the Italian presence expanded in American culture.More than literature, art, or even language, food serves as a strong cultural rallying point for the Italian people and a way to disseminate Italian traditions worldwide. Available for the first time in English translation, La Cecla’s lively and accessible study will be of interest to a wide range of readers, from social theorists to avid foodies.