384.3 Food as an identity mark between Italian immigrants and their descendants in the south of Brazil

Thursday, August 2, 2012: 4:55 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Miriam SANTOS , Departamento de Educação e Sociedade, Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Maria Catarina ZANINI , Ciências Sociais, Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Santa Maria , Brazil
At this presentation we aim to analyze the role of food for the Italian descendants that migrated to 'Rio Grande do Sul' at the beginning of the century. From our point of view, food is used as an identity symbol and its abundance is associated with prosperity. In the south of Brazil, European immigrants settled in small colonies, that even under the Brazilian policies' parameters, it aimed to reproduce the European peasant model. The colonization process in the mountain region of Rio Grande do Sul state begins in 1875, while the colonization process in the central region, in 1877-78. These immigrants were mostly poor Catholic peasants. This family migration was marked by the expectation of the Cucagna, a land where salamis grow on trees and the conquest of wealth would be a matter of time and some work. That is, apart from rising socially and becoming land-lords, these populations wanted food, and in adundance. Food is a process that depends on family and colective work organization, specially among peasants. For the case of Italian descendants in Rio Grande do Sul, the difference does not rely only in the food´s choice, but mostly in the constant confirmation of abundance of food and great variety of dishes. We believe that the emphasis in abundance represents the prosperity and the wish to perpetuate it, but it also works for a cultural differentiation. It is important for us to understand the preservation of an Italian cuisine such as grostoli and fortaia, as well as the replacement of some typical peasant dishes, such as minestra, by other more identified with the urban culture, such as capeletti soup. On the other hand, we also observed the incorporation of typical Brazilian dishes, such as barbecue grill and a hibridization of Italian and Gaucha cousines, such as galeto (cockerel).