Author Comes All the Way from Italy to Give Presentation to OWU Students

By Spencer Pauley, Managing Editor


Fat and fascism, those two things don’t seem to go together at first, but author Karima Moyer-Nocchi proved otherwise with a presentation on Sept. 19.

Moyer-Nocchi’s presentation was specifically on the influence of food during the fascist era. She talked about how nostalgia is used in selling Italian food. She calls it a “gastronomic time-travel.”

“The indulgences for this gastronomic time-travel comes with a price. One that has us shovel seven, nine, and 11 dollars for a small bag of beans while seemingly similar beans lacking the romantic biography cost just one dolla,” Moyer-Nocchi said.

But the time these packages refer to is actually seen as a lowlight in Italian history: the Mussolini-runned era of Italy. Moyer-Nocchi traveled throughout Italy to talk with 18 women who lived during this era and asked them for their opinions on food and what it was like during that time. Her conversations with these women built up to her book “Chewing the Fat: An Oral History of Italian Foodways from Fascism to Dolce Vita.”

Moyer-Nocchi’s presentation also extended into Italy now and how they react to their history of fascism. Many Italians avoid bringing up the subject and it takes a toll on family life; they avoid discussions on it with their older relatives who lived during the Mussolini era.

“Families tend to not listen to their old people, there is a silencing going on.” Moyer-Nocchi said. “So when there’s a researcher coming into their house that wanted to hear their stories, there were finally family members around listening to their story and in the spotlight.”

Moyer-Nocchi is an author, but is also a tenured professor at the University of Siena, located in Italy. Along with “Chewing the Fat: An Oral History of Italian Foodways from Fascism to Dolce Vita,” Moyer-Nocchi is releasing a new book, “The Eternal Table: A Cultural History of Food in Rome,” in March, 2019.

Professor of health and human kinetics, Christopher Fink, introduced Moyer-Nocchi before her presentation. After it was finished he wrapped it up with some suggestions for student in the health and human kinetics field.

“This spring we’re going to be doing a project as well so if (food and fascism) sounds like something for you, you’ll have the freedom to use this for it,” Fink said.

Professor attends international conference

Dr. Christopher Fink. Photo courtesy of the OWU website.
Professor Christopher Fink. Photo courtesy of the OWU website.

Assistant professor and chair of health and human kinetics Christopher Fink was selected as a US delegate to travel to Italy for a food and health conference taking place Oct. 3-­6.

According to the We Feed the Planet website, “the four­-day program, based on the model of the Slow Food Youth Network Food Academy, will allow the group to connect, be inspired, create solutions and finally share their ideas about feeding the planet in the future on a world stage at Expo.”

The We Feed the Planet conference includes young food producers and activists from around the world. The event was organized by Slow Food and Slow Food Youth Network.

Fink said, “Slow Food is an international organization with over 100,000 members that advocates for food that is good, healthy, delicious, clean, sustainable and pays a fair wage.”

“I feel that I will gain even more insight into the issues I’ve discussed here, that I can embed in the numerous food-­related activities that I do in classes and other programs that directly involve our students,” said Fink. “I also hope to be able to forge new connections that may allow our students to have access to new experiences in internships, study­ abroad programs, and more.”

Fink’s focus of study and experience in the food and health field spans from teaching classes to holding events of his own regarding the issue. He directed the 2012 Sagan National Colloquium series which, according to event documentation, “focused on the mutually transformative relationship between people and food.” He is also active in the Association for the Study of Food and Society.

Sophomore human and health kinetics major Hallie Sinko said, “Diet is a huge part of having healthy lifestyle so I think it’s really good to benefit OWU by having one of our facility with a more universally rounded view on food and health that can then pass onto students which they will be able to use daily in their future careers and lives.”

The conference took place in Milan, Italy, “in conjunction with Milan Expo 2015, which is the international exposition that was historically known as the World’s Fair,” said Fink. Milan is also where Slow Food was founded.

There were about 500 delegates from all over the world in attendance.

“This cause is important to me because I believe that our food system needs these kinds of gatherings and discussions to improve some of the problems we face with feeding an ever-expanding population in a way that supports environmental sustainability and ethical food production,” said Fink.