Monday, October 11, 2010

Welcome To Project Lucania

Photo of the famed Sassi of Matera converted into luxury apartments
Vogue magazine article about Matera September 2010 issue

Welcome Greek Roman Celt Saxon and all! This is my new and second blog which makes me question my sanity on starting another blog because my first one Venus Loves Virgo keeps me busy enough! This blog is going to be more personal to me and I've actually wanted to start this almost a year ago. My original intentions for Project Lucania was having this as a food blog with me cooking, indexing recipes with the additions of photographs on every authentic Lucanian dish. This would be a monumental task only a crazy person would take on because the region of Lucania in itself contains two provinces Matera & Potenza with fifteen cities and dozens of hidden towns stretching from Apulia from the North all the way down to Calabria in the South. Of course my focus was mostly going to be in the region where my parents come from and where my summers were spent which is the North of Lucania. While I still would like to use this blog to document recipes I've decided to expand on the entire culture of Lucania from food-history-travel and shopping. This is the reason my blog was titled Project Lucania. This blog idea had been pushed aside by me either due to lack of time or whatever reason until recently when I found myself flipping through my latest issue of Vogue magazine and came across a wonderful article about the city of my parents birth which was being hailed as one of the best kept secret hideaways for the elite. What a surprise  that this well hidden historic landmark was featured in Vogue. Are you kidding me? Of course it's no news to me as the city is my second home away from home. The city in question is the beautiful mysterious Matera. One of the first cities to be created in all of Italy way before the Roman Empire ever existed.

So being that I'm very superstitious taking everything as a meaningful sign (perhaps from Zeus himself ) that this little coincidence convinced me to go ahead with my blog.So Jupiter be praised I give you Project Lucania! As an introductory post let me jot down some history behind the region starting with my blog title. Lucania is the ancient name of the southernmost part of Italy considered to be the true heart & soul of Italy know as the Basilicata. Lucania gets it's name from the Lucanian Mountains of the region and from the Greek Loukas meaning native of Lucania and Lukos for wolf. I'll do a longer post of the history of Lucania at a later date as not to ramble on in my introductory post. Let me just explain something now so in the future when I refer to myself or family background as Lucanian you wont get confused. Lucania or modern day Basilicata is for a certain distinct region in the south of Italy. Matera is the city where my parents come from. A fun fact worth mentioning also is that the name Italy was actually given to the Lucanian region of the south which was also part of the Magna Graecia borrowed through the Greek from the Oscan word {my earliest ancestors were from the Oscan & Samnite tribes} Vitulus meaning land of young calf named for the God of cattle Mars. The image of the bull was often depicted goring the Roman wolf as a symbol of free Italy during the Samnite wars when the Romans were defeated by the people of this region. The Greeks gradually came to apply Italia to a larger region but it wasn't until the Roman Empire had established full control that Italy was the name for the entire country not just Lucania.

Ancient map of Lucania-The Oscan territory is where my family is from

Now as for creating Project Lucania as a food blog my love for cooking came at an early age first from my grandmother who taught me all the basics. I cherish all the memories of helping her out in the kitchen believe or not as young as five years old even though I'm sure I was more of a headache to her than actual help but since then I can say my master chef skills have improved. Ha! My parents were very traditional Italians believing a girls only place was in the kitchen so that's where I lived. My innate ability to walk blind through anyone's kitchen is legendary even if only legendary to me. LO Cooking blind is my specialty and by this I mean seldom do I find the need to measure anything out because my hands along with my eyes are my best tools. Another reason I was compelled to start this food blog was that every time I pass a restaurant, grocery store or a cooking channel which label food as "Italian" a small cringe comes over me knowing it's not really authentic Italian cuisine but rather Italian American which is not the same thing. I'm sure Asian women feel the same way when they see people eat Ramen noodles hearing them being referred to as Japanese food. It's just pride for ones culture and I'm hoping my authentic recipes will set the record straight. Sometimes I like to mix it up with my own creations of fusion foods even inspired by other cultures which I will make sure to note. So there you have it in a nutshell. This process might be very slow and the posts may not come every day but I'm going to try to keep it going while being fun & informative for those of you interested in the food, culture and travels of Southern Italy.

4 Bacioni xoxo:

Jennifer Fabulous said...

Beautiful new blog! So interesting to learn a little history about Italy and your hometown. Sounds FABULOUS! Looking forward to future posts. xo

Blondeblush said...

Hihihi Maria! now following your new blog xx

fashionKaren said...

Interesting family history & I can't wait to see the food photos you post ;)

ProjectLucania said...

Thanks everyone! XOXO

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